Why We Need Critical Digital Pedagogy in the Time of Pandemic: An Introduction to CARDE

The pandemic has both accelerated and amplified the adoption of digital tools and provided opportunities for vendors. The pandemic crisis situation has meant that much of the decision making has been unreflective and uncritical. (From the presentation slides)

The aim of this very brief presentation is to introduce the work of CARDE and explain why it is particularly important in a the time of the COVID pandemic.  The presentation is here.

We talk about digitalization all the time. Digitalization has become an inseparable part of the higher education environment – in fact, it has become such an everyday concept that we seldom stop to think about it more critically. At TAMK, the CARDE research group (Critical Applied Research of Digitalization in Education) was established to bridge this gap. During 2020, the research of digitalization has indeed become more timely than ever.

In this presentation, we share key observations and recommendations of the research group:

Problems concerning digitalization in education

a. digitalization is never defined and therefore it cannot be questioned

b. in digitalization-speech, teachers are typically given the role of objects for professional development in the use of digital tools, not active subjects of digitalization.

c. educational organizations react to prompts that come from outside, rather than take a proactive stance in imagining and developing desired digital futures.

d. the combination of teachers & digitalization is reduced to digital teaching tools, educational institutions are not appreciated as work environments/communities where teachers take multiple roles.

e. the prevailing trends of datafication and algorithm pedagogy are not only debatable, but actually potentially harmful if adopted hastily and uncritically.

Suggestions and recommendations

a. we need to take a step back from the ”digital box” and examine the phenomenon honestly and from different perspectives.

b. critical pedagogy provides useful tools for defining and discussing digitalization in higher education.

c. we need to create ways of engaging teachers and foster emancipatory and participatory culture.

d. we must engage in active imagination of a desired future, not only from a management perspective, but engaging the higher education community more widely. The aim of the presentation is to encourage conversation on a topic that has become familiar, but is seldom critiqued.