Digital data flows are of increasing global relevance, with data privacy a fundamental human right. But data’s role in sharpening and/or mitigating inequality and fostering global justice is still understudied. How is schooling being reconfigured through new educational technologies in different regions of the world? In what ways are these changes exacerbating, reproducing or creating new forms of inequality and/or promoting equality?

The RED research project establishes new global partnerships to investigate:

  1. Policy: How do policies and data infrastructures for digital education address inequality
  2. Practice: How do selected privileged and disadvantaged schools engage with digital technology and thus (re)create or contest inequality?
  3. Profiles: How are schools’ ‘data profiles’ entangled with in/equality?

RED orients to vital, resource and existential in/equality. It prioritises the politics of technology and decolonial thinking. It utilizes established ethnographic methods and novel data audit and digital methods to craft powerful narratives. It aims to (i) map global phenomena and local specificities, (ii) develop contextualised understandings of technology use in dis/advantaged schools, (iii) generate profiles of how – and by whom – student data are colonised across global contexts, (iv) problematize simplistic accounts of how technology can alleviate inequalities, and (v) identify mechanisms through which technology and/or data sovereignty do promote equality. The international team is based in Argentina, Botswana, Germany, Mexico, South Africa and Sweden. Overall, RED contributes a global perspective on technology, education and society. It also hopes to fuel decisions on designing and regulating sociotechnical systems in education to shape a more equitable future.

Photo by Gabe Rebra on Unsplash

RED is funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ)

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Duration: 2020 – 2024