PhD Candidate: Responsible Technology Selection and Usage in Schools

Updated: 5 months ago
Job Type: Temporary
Deadline: 01 Jun 2022

Are you interested in responsible behaviour around digital technology? The way in which schools embed values such as privacy and transparency in the selection and use of digital technologies affects their teachers and students. As a PhD Candidate, you will investigate the implementation and usage of digital technologies in Dutch secondary schools.

Digitalisation in schools has a profound impact on the educational experiences of both teachers and students. Many digital technologies have been designed specifically for educational purposes, but more generic platforms such as social media and app groups are also used in educational activities. This use may be either endorsed by the school, chosen ad-hoc by teachers (shadow IT), or initiated by students, leading to an intertwinement of formal and informal technology use. It appears that public values such as privacy, transparency and independence are not always taken into account in adoption decisions for these generic technologies. As a result, these values may be compromised when such technologies are selected and used.

We are looking for a PhD candidate to investigate how Dutch secondary schools currently select and use digital technologies, and how they can be assisted in safeguarding these values and norms in their decisions through organisational and technical interventions. To this end, a mixed-methods approach is foreseen including interviews, literature analysis, surveys and choice experiments. The project will combine the disciplinary perspectives of ethics, law, social sciences and design science in studying how ethical, technical and legal factors translate into organisational responsibilities around technology selection and use. We aim at answering the following questions:

  • What is the current status of the digital technology landscape in Dutch schools for 12-18-year-olds, and how are formal and informal technologies intertwined?
  • Based on what factors and decision processes do schools, teachers and students decide which generic technologies to use and how to use them, and how do they perceive the responsibilities and consequences for such use? Which values are overlooked?
  • How can interventions in the organisational and technical landscape give public values and legal/social norms a more prominent place in the technology selection process?
  • This is a joint project between iHub, Radboud University's interdisciplinary hub for digitalisation and society, and the Behavioural Science Institute of the Faculty of Social Sciences. This PhD position involves 10% teaching and the opportunity to obtain a teaching qualification.


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