Detailed Program of the Conference

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The current Conference time is: 17th Aug 2022, 12:34:28am CEST

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Overall view of the program
Parallel session - G.7 Enacting digital educational platforms. A critical take
Thursday, 03/June/2021:
9:30am - 11:45am

Session Chair: Emiliano Grimaldi
Session Chair: Paolo Landri
Session Chair: Danilo Taglietti
Location: Room 9

Session Panels:
G.7. Enacting digital educational platforms. A critical take

Panel Keynote Speech: Mathias Decuypere (KU Leuven), Researching the platformization of education: A theoretical and methodological guide

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Danilo Taglietti1, Emiliano Grimaldi1, Paolo Landri2, Fabio Maria Esposito1

1University of Naples Federico II - Italy, Italy; 2IRPPS-CNR - Italy

Critical analyses of the relation between digitalization in education and the transformation of teaching have shown how it seems unlikely that teachers’ practices in everyday schooling will be radically altered or replaced in the near future (Selwyn, 2019). At the same time, they highlight the power of the new imaginaries and pedagogical logics that underly globally used educational digital platforms like G-Suite for Education, Blackboard or Moodle (Perrotta et al. 2021). At face of this debates, we argue that there is a clear need for research exploring in greater detail how imaginaries and possibilities for teaching emerging from the assemblage with digital platforms are enacted in the situated contexts of everyday schooling and how educational digital platforms are part of a re-making of the labour of teaching and pedagogy.

This presentation is part of an ongoing research project whose aim is to understand the effects produced by educational digital platforms on the contemporary experience of teaching and learning (Van Dijck et al. 2018). In particular, this work discusses the role of digital platforms in the re-framing of the teaching experience, with a specific reference to the changes in the spatial, temporal and ethical frames of education. The aim is to problematise how platforms’ functioning influences the practices of teaching and the making of the teacher as a subject (Decuypere et al, 2021), but also how teachers enact digital platforms within iterative processes that involve the assemblage between: a) discursive practices that act as frames for the processes of teaching; b) non-discursive practices of education (recruitment and staff, budget, buildings, technologies and infrastructures); c) contextual discursive and non-discursive elements which act as situated educational environments; and d) the subjective processes of interpretation, translation and recontextualization (Ball et al. 2012).

We will draw on the findings of an ethnographic research which is currently being carried on in a comprehensive school in the South of Italy, the St. Mary. Since the school closure imposed by the pandemics, St. Mary is one of the many Italian schools that have continued their activities using the G-Suite for Education. Presenting the findings of the research, we will contribute to the debate on how one of the most used educational digital platforms, the G-Suite for Education, is part of the re-making of the labour of teaching and pedagogy in everyday schooling. In particular, we will discuss:

a) how St. Mary teachers have used the G-Suite in the period of Distance Education and how the move to a virtual classroom has changed their curricular, pedagogical and evaluative practices;

b) how some distinctive traits of the G-Suite for Education as a platform have been enacted and other not, through processes of selection, translation, interpretation, decoding, mediation, opposition, and exclusion in the daily practices of teaching;

c) how platforms’ functioning shapes the practices of teaching but is also influenced by them, bringing out a re-making of the teacher as a particular kind of subject, who is enabled with distinct modes of acting, intervening and directing the learning experience.


Gianna Cappello

University of Palermo, Italy

As the Covid-19 pandemic still troubles national governments across the globe, numerous commentators have focused their attention on the big tech industry’s involvement in several fields (education and health care in primis) linking it to a longer process of privatization, deregulation and reorganization of the public sector (Couldry & Mejias 2018; Klein 2007, 2020; Lawrence et al. 2020; Magalhaes & Couldry 2020; Mazzucato 2015). Decades of outsourcing and budget cuts, justified by a dominant political discourse that governments are inefficient, have significantly hampered governments’ abilities to adequately provide essential services such as education and health care. This situation has been nourished by a rhetoric of innovation that, while celebrating the role of the private sector as the driver of technological development and progress, creates a powerful and perverse self-fulfilling prophecy: the vacant space left by inefficient states is occupied by big-tech corporations offering their services and evidence-based expertise to address problems and needs that governments are failing to tackle with. “We need more Googles” the governor of California proclaimed after Google announced it would provide 100,000 Wi-Fi hotspots to support remote education in California (Elias 2020). Furthermore, the pandemic crisis has made apparent how it is increasingly difficult to untangle the link between philanthropy and capitalism (Bishop & Green 2008), to discern between what are profit goals and what are charitable efforts. Finally, questions need to be asked about how the industry-led digitalization and datafication of society – in act well before the outbreak of the pandemic crisis – is changing the very nature of the public policies and practices.

This contribution focuses on how these recent developments reverberate in the educational field arguing that they are also the result of broader changes in education practices, policy and theory over the past ten years or so (Williamson 2017; Selwyn 2017; Landri 2018). It will offer a review of the services and initiatives GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft) techno-giants have developed during the pandemic crisis to support, quite often in overt collaboration with national education ministries, schools’ efforts for distance education. While not denying the important role these initiatives have played for Italian schools during the crisis, this contribution intends to offer some critical insights on some of the implications involved. It is not only a question of digitalizing schools (for which a vast literature is already available), we now need to think of how education is also increasingly being datafied and platformized through various forms of learning and organizational analytics, and how this is going to affect education theories, practices and policies. Indeed, when actors such as GAFAM enter from the main door, so to speak, our schools, we need to wear much broader lens for developing research to consider benefits and trade-offs, and develop new safeguards (UNESCO 2020).


Patrizio Pastore

Università degli studi di Roma "La Sapienza", Italia

The museum is the educational space that has always been at the forefront of change.

Since 2000, museums and galleries have gradually integrated the digital experience into the overall museum experience.

Today's museum does not communicate in the digital space but exists in it by experimenting with new forms of cultural inter-understanding while respecting the different expectations and skills of its audiences.

How does the interaction between virtual and physical spaces help or hinder learning? Does the interaction between physical and virtual reality require the construction of physical learning spaces realized thinking about the modeling of the virtual world?

Wanting to focus on the issue of how virtual environments can act as effectors or substitutes for our physical learning environments, this contribution, starting from a theoretical reflection that can describe educational digital contexts as virtual social learning spaces, proposes a review of some international studies on the use of digital technologies in education starting from the museum space.

Among the different theories of learning, connectivism and activity theory, they suggest that our digital tools together with the historical-social culture that surrounds the public, become an intrinsic part of the learning process; It is interesting to consider how these same processes apply to both virtual and physical worlds, since virtual worlds and physical worlds are not mutually exclusive entities, but intertwined entities in parallel realities that not only influence each other but influence each individual within them.

Many researchers note that museums are placing an emphasis on education, today as never before, by highlighting that museums should be included in virtual learning environments where they explore the use of digital technologies to interact with visitors; in public environments respecting the mandate to transmit knowledge of cultural heritage.

The new attention of museums to digital is also attributable to the change introduced by the International Council of Museums (ICOM) regarding the museum mission, that is, the transition from a museum conceived almost solely for conservation to a user-centered museum. The museum is described as "a permanent non-profit institution, at the service of society and its development, open to the public, which carries out research on the material and intangible testimonies of man and his environment, acquires them, preserves them, communicates and specifically exhibits them for purposes of study, education and pleasure "(ICOM, 2007, p. 1).

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