Cracks in the Sidewalk: Looking Behind the Seamless Surfaces of Digital Schooling

Antti Paakkari, Verneri Valasmo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


As the significance of digital devices and study materials in classrooms grows, traditional classroom spaces are renegotiated and constructed in novel ways. From a methodological point of view, we must now answer the question of how to do classroom research when the school moves out of the classroom. Through the development of two methodological approaches, the article searches for possibilities for research methods that are able to navigate the borderlands between school, home, public, and market spaces where the digitalization of education currently unfolds. The first methodological experiment involves tracing the entanglements of upper secondary school students mobile phone use by creating a closed Wi-Fi network inside the school and enabling the students to share their phone screens with researchers; the second involves following the COVID-19 distance school days of upper secondary school students with portable video cameras. By mapping the entanglements of digitally connected classrooms, we can gain insight into the marketization of public education and the growing influence of global digital platforms seeking to strengthen their foothold in schools. The chapter proposes approaching digitally connected classrooms as assemblages and developing methodologies that see technologies as practices. Through examples taken from our methodological experiments, we look behind the seamless surfaces of technology and the flashpoints that emerge. This leads us to the human and nonhuman cooperation required in digitally connected classrooms.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFlashpoint Epistemology Volume 2
Subtitle of host publicationAporias of Complexity in Power, Politics and Methods in Education
EditorsBernadette Baker, Antti Saari, Liang Wang, Hannah Tavares
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781003834571
ISBN (Print)9781032593364
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Publication typeA3 Book chapter

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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