In early March I will attend a Research Winter School at the University of Kiel titled “Assistive Thinking: The entanglement of technology and human epistemological practices”. The event is organised by Heidrun Allert, Sabine Reisas and their colleagues at the Department of Media Education/Educational Computer Sciences.
I won’t be traveling there alone. My CERColl collaborator Emanuele Bardone will give a keynote on the topic of “Chance-seeking as a way of making sense in the time of technological entanglement“.
My own keynote presentation focuses on “Systemic intervention as epistemological practice”. Here is the abstract for what I plan to talk about:
Certain strands of educational research and development are increasingly embracing methods that have originated in various areas of design practice. While this newly found interest in the design and creation of (predominantly digital) artefacts has certainly widened the overall scope of educational research practice, it is also strengthening the domination of the “natural science-engineering model” and its rationale in education. However, maintaining the traditional boundaries between applied science (as practice of research) and practice (as a field of application of the products of research) is highly problematic in areas of human service (educational practice, therapy, medical practice, social work, and so forth) in general, and under the conditions of the unfolding digital transformation in particular.
Instead, what seems to be called for are approaches that explicitly incorporate the notion of intentional change into an overall system of inquiry. As soon as educational research practice becomes action and intervention oriented (German: handlungsorientiert), however, it begins to import teleologic principles and patterns of reasoning. This raises (or rather emphasises) value-rational questions and corresponding methodological issues that are purposefully ignored within a conception of educational research that follows the ideal of instrumental-rationality and methodic detachment from practice.
I would like to argue that the notion of “systemic intervention” provides an alternative – and viable – point of departure for reconceptualising epistemological practice in educational research in times of profound socio-technological changes.