Teaching for Digital Justice, Fairness and Inclusion

Published: 30 November 2022

This project responds to the challenges and opportunities young people face in a fast-paced digitally connected world. We are interested in the ways that digital citizenship is enacted in secondary schools across the UK, as well as in the day-to-day life of schools - from setting homework through virtual learning environments, to using biometric data to store students’ lunch money.

Dr David Lundie talks about his ambitious new project working with schools and software developers to help young people engage with the many moral and social challenges of life in a digitally connected world.

UK Research and Innovation identified digital citizenship as a priority for their recent Education funding call. In response, we brought together a multi-disciplinary team including education specialists, University of Glasgow's Urban Big Data Centre, and the Centre for Technological Futures at the University of Edinburgh, to carry out curriculum mapping and development work across the four nations of the UK.

Young people face so many challenges and uncertainties in a fast-paced and changing digital world – from cyber-bullying to online radicalisation, to the day-to-day harvesting and commercialisation of their personal data; and teachers sometimes struggle to keep up. We saw with the chaos that was the attempt to use an algorithm to give students their A-Level and Higher grades in 2020, how unexpected results can follow from automating the way we measure education.

In this project, we’re looking to engage with the best practices that already exist in schools, whether that’s in Citizenship, PSHE, Computer Science, and to bring that into conversation with some of the leading-edge theories in digital ethics, to help young people to be more aware of how to navigate the opportunities that digital citizenship brings.

The research team will work closely with 12 secondary schools and four sets of resource developers, observing practice, interviewing pupils, reflecting on key challenges as part of a national group, and making use of an innovative smartphone-enabled daily survey method with young people. The final report of the project will be completed in December 2024.

The project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), via the ESRC Education Research Programme.


First published: 30 November 2022