Re-imagining Digital Technology in Education through Critical and Neo-materialist Insights

Magda Pischetola

Research output: Journal Article or Conference Article in JournalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Technological determinism, techno-solutionism and instrumental perspectives on technologies have populated educational research literature in the last decades, and even more since the pandemic crisis has started. This essay offers a critique about simplistic explanations of technology adoption in pedagogy by using insights from critical philosophy of technology and feminist new materialism. It rejects the assumption of teachers’ resistance to change and proposes a frame to expand future imaginaries of education. In this sense, critical studies provide a focus on human activity as interconnected with social and situated knowledges/practices. The emphasis is on recursive relations that allow educational researchers and practitioners to take into account the considerable complexity of digital technologies pedagogical adoption. On the other hand, feminist new materialism brings about a new focus on relational ontology, which adds to the critical theoretical framework the agentic element. By overcoming a binary way of seeing technologies through utopias and dystopias, new materialist studies focus on ethics and responsibility. We argue that we need both a critical and a neo-materialist view, in order to adopt technologies in education in meaningful, productive and creative ways. Building on small narratives and possible utopias can take us to re-design and re-interprete the future of educational technologies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDigital Education Review
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)154
Number of pages171
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Critical theory
  • Feminist new materialism
  • Digital technologies
  • Education
  • Imaginaries


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