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30 Mar 2023

Call for Papers in a Special Issue on Decolonising EdTech

The Special Issue was produced as part of the programme of the UNESCO Chair in Innovative Informal Digital Learning in Disadvantaged and Development Contexts. Here is a quick summary of the call for papers:

  • We invite you to submit papers to this Special Issue about decolonising the field of educational technology in any and every manifestation.
  • “Decolonising” refers to the acts of recognising, confronting, and undoing the processes, structures, and concepts by which any more powerful country, culture, or community physically or remotely oppresses another smaller one, either currently or historically.
  • “Educational technology” refers to hardware, software, infrastructure, applications, and interfaces, as well as projects, programmes, processes, structures, values, knowledge systems, and philosophies they are situated in.
  • We invite submissions on reviews (landscape, policy, product, or systematic), practices, case studies, political economy analysis, evaluations, methodologies, methods, and frameworks (theoretical, analytical, conceptual) that identify and/or challenge the (neo)colonial norms embedded in the field of educational technologies.
  • We are conscious that every part of the research publishing cycle has also perpetuated colonial, post-colonial, neocolonial, and hegemonic practices. Thus, we explicitly welcome contributions from a wide variety of authors with their unique perspectives and styles of writing to contribute to this journal issue — including writers, scholars, practitioners, and community members who traditionally lack representation in academic journals.

For further details, please read below

Decoloniality is broadly defined here as “the dismantling of relations of power and conceptions of knowledge that foment the reproduction of racial, gender, and geopolitical hierarchies that came into being or found new and more powerful forms of expression in the modern/colonial world.” (Maldonado-Torres, 2016). We are, however, open to different definitions.

It is essential to critically explore educational technology offerings, including hardware, software, infrastructure, applications, and interfaces, as well as the projects, programmes, research, processes, structures, values, knowledge, and philosophies they are situated in. Similarly, it is important to critically analyse the actors and systems in which these educational technologies are embedded, asking questions such as “by whom?”, “for whom?”, “who benefits?” and “what are the hidden agendas?”.

To what extent and in what ways are these technologies and systems perpetuating and reinforcing the values, worldviews, institutions, resources, and knowledge systems that are entangled with (neo)colonialism? Drawing from Adam et al. (2022), decolonising the field of educational technology includes topics such as:

  • Globalising education (e.g., through universal education platforms), such that dominant knowledge (mostly white, western-centric), values, norms, and beliefs are forefronted to the detriment of those from marginal, non-dominant, local, and indigenous groups.
  • Western-centric epistemological and pedagogical underpinnings in EdTech that, for example, focus on the individual — their individual learning path and assessments, their arrival at a predetermined completion point — to the detriment of communitarian models of learning or critical pedagogies that centre praxis.
  • Dominant languages used to achieve EdTech product scaling lead to the loss of the conceptual frameworks used by minority languages and, resultantly, the loss of scholarship in minority languages.
  • “Core-to-periphery” implementation of EdTech products that, for example, promote a predominantly one-way transmission of standardised knowledge from Western countries to a diverse and complex pool of “awaiting” participants globally.
  • Technological design critiques that go beyond looking at user-friendliness and content design to discussions of who creates EdTech products, who they are designed for, and the embeddedness of colonial logic.
  • Adverse incorporation (“datafication”) whereby young learners’ thoughts and experiences are tracked and monitored, giving them a digital footprint that will be with them for the rest of their lives.

Based on Adam et al. (2022), submissions may focus on but are by all means not limited to:

  • inequity and injustices in online and/or digital education systems;
  • decolonial critiques of technological design, pedagogical design, and learning analytics processes;
  • decolonial critiques of open education and/or MOOCs;
  • digital neocolonialism through the technologisation of education;
  • lack of epistemic diversity in EdTech and online education;
  • indigenous knowledge and reclaiming diverse non-Western centric epistemologies in educational technologies;
  • positionality in EdTech researchers.

We invite submissions on reviews (landscape, policy, product or systematic), practices, case studies, political economy analysis, evaluations, methodologies, methods, and frameworks (theoretical, analytical, conceptual) that identify and/or challenge the (neo)colonial norms embedded in the field of educational technologies. We encourage novel, critical, and decolonial approaches to tackle the aforementioned themes as well as forefronting experiences of those at the margins. Furthermore, we are also open to novel, decolonial methodologies.

We are also conscious that every part of the research publishing cycle has contributed to the perpetuation of colonial, postcolonial, and neocolonial hegemonic practices and that we are not always aware of the processes or the details by which this happens. In recognition of the possible hegemonic aspects of the publishing cycle, we would welcome contributions from a wide variety of authors with their unique perspectives and styles of writing to contribute to this journal issue — including practitioners, scholars, and community members who might be “hard to reach” or traditionally lack representation in academic journals. In particular, we encourage those in early parts of their career to submit papers. For scholars with more experience, we encourage co-authoring with early career scholars, practitioners, and communities you are conducting research with. We are happy to provide informal feedback on ideas and approaches and support authors in preparing articles that respect their cultural styles/voices while also challenging current hegemonic publishing practices.

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