Online symposium ‘Digital Sovereignty – Theory meets Practice’

On October 7, 2022, UNBLACK THE BOX organised an online symposium on digital sovereignty together with the youth protection organisation ‘Präventiver Jugendschutz Frankfurt/Main’ and the ‘Zentrum gesellschaftliche Verantwortung’ by the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau. The goal of the event was to foster exchange between research and practice and to discuss together how young people’s digital sovereignty, or digital literacy, could be improved.

In our digitised lives, more and more decisions are taken with the help of automated decision-making systems, and opaque algorithms, filter bubbles, recommendations and likes determine which content users see and how users behave online. ‘Digitally sovereign’ citizens use digital technologies in an informed manner and take part in the development of more social technologies. How this ideal goal can be reached in light of citizens’ limited agency in datafied societies, and what this means in practice for youth and adult education was discussed at the online symposium. Besides presentations from Sigrid Hartong and Annika Gramoll, several ideas workshops about diverse topics such as escape games in education or data protection in online games were offered.

Workshop: Critical Data Literacy in Initial and Further Teaching Training

On 23 and 24 June 2022, UNBLACK THE BOX organised a workshop in Hamburg, funded by the Helmut-Schmidt University Hamburg (HSU) and the Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education Frankfurt/Main (DIPF). The workshop focused on critical data literacy in initial and further teacher training. The goal was not only to discuss the concept of critical data literacy, but also to bring together ongoing projects from teacher training in Germany which already address this topic.

Although a growing number of initiatives in initial and further teacher training address ‘data literacy’, most of these take a functional perspective (e.g. meaningful data usage), and a critical reflection of the implications of data technologies in terms of a critical data literacy is often missing. Also an understanding and scrutiny of the use of data technologies in educational settings is hardly fostered as yet. Through the workshop, we were able to get to know a number of highly interesting pioneer projects that focus on fostering digital sovereignty in the sense of a critical data literacy.

Workshop: Building Data Literacy with the Teaching Profession at Global Scale

On March 18, 2021, the online workshop “Building Data Literacy with the Teaching Profession at Global Scale“ took place. The workshop was organised by Sigrid Hartong together with Sam Sellar (Manchester Metropolitan University) and addressed anyone interested in data literacy from the education sector, academia as well as data literacy initiatives.

Goals of the event were:

to share knowledge and experience, and identify opportunities for further work and international collaboration.

The event aimed to provide:

(1) insights into the present state of datafication in education and the challenges it creates;

(2) a platform for initiatives, groups and projects around the globe to share experiences of developing data literacy with teachers and teacher organisations in different contexts, and to address common challenges; and

(3) an opportunity to discuss how we can develop and advance strategies for building data literacy at global scale.