UNBLACK THE BOX

For a (self)conscious use of digital and data technologies in educational institutions

UNBLACK THE BOX is a network initiative founded in 2019 by researchers from education science, sociology, information technology, media and health education, as well as teachers in schools, universities and pedagogical training. Our goal is to enable educational institutions and teachers to respond to the growing datafication and digitization of education with enlightened, critical and conscious decision-making, even without extensive IT knowledge.

You can find our flyer here.

Our most recent resource is the alternative checklist for educational institutions.

What we are offering

UNBLACK THE BOX works on offering the following:

  • A digital platform with various information on current research, material, tools and events
  • Resources to develop a critical understanding of data (technologies) for educational institutions, leaders, teachers and the interested public
  • Collaboration with educational institutions on their digital development
  • Teacher and leadership training, workshops and webinars
  • Consulting for management personnel
  • and more to come…


Background

Schools, universities, but also institutions in early childhood education and non-formal education are under rising Schools, universities, but also institutions in early childhood education and non-formal education are under rising pressure of quick and extensive digitalization. This includes massive investments in WiFi or hardware as well as an increasing use of platforms, learning software, learning analytics, and (to a growing extent) AI technologies. All of these developments are framed by promises to increase learning performance, fairness, educational equity or efficiency, while releasing the administrative and pedagogical burden for teachers.

Consequently, educational institutions are being flooded with a growing number of financing, consulting and training initiatives. At the same time, the vast majority of these activities are related to (effective) hard- and software usage skills, while critical approaches are often reduced to questions such as data protection, cyberbullying or fake news. This also means the complex logics of digital technologies often remain a black box to those who are increasingly governed by those technologies: institutional leaders, teachers and students.

In other words, there appears a dramatic lack of understanding the fundamental logics, processes, but also the complex social interrelationships of datafication and digitalization, of algorithms and AI (meaning to unblack the box!). Such an understanding is essential for sustainable, democratically oriented educational leadership in the digital age.

Responding to this need, UNBLACK THE BOX

  • provides a holistic, critical view on the functioning and mechanisms of data (technologies) in educational contexts
  • provides educational institutions, leaders and teachers with tools for conscious, creative usage of data technologies. This usage includes the retention or even the expansion of analogue technologies.