SPECIAL CALL FOR PAPERS: Framing the postdigital childhood. From families practises and knowledge to the educational response

June 11, 2024

Editors - Juliana E. Raffaghelli, Emilia Restiglian, Marco Scarcelli
Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Pedagogy and Applied Psychology University of Padua
contact: juliana.raffaghelli, emilia.restiglian, marco.scarcelli [at]

Large datasets formed upon the children’s exposure to social media, AI-powered toys and interfaces embed bias and injustice (Barassi, 2020). The data captured from toddlers overexposure to videos watched on social media platforms, later monetized in the commercial recommendations made to parents; images extracted because of the practices of sharenting, later modified through AI tools; or acts of cyberbullying on adolescents using pictures from their infancy, are just some of the unpredictable ways into which the postdigital life of children becomes risk and harm on them (Pangrazio & Sefton-Green, 2020). Childhood is nowadays being a subject of bio-codification, including genomics, neural and cognitive predictions blended with computational big data studies (Lupton & Williamson, 2017). Therefore, children’s rights to their identity and to a safe place to grow up are being violated (Rivera-Vargas et al., 2023).

The platforms pose critical problems too when dealing with pedagogical documentation, a consolidated practice for ECEC educators. Seen as a key approach to analysing, assessing, and evaluating the children's progress within the ECEC institution, pedagogical documentation has entered the postdigital as any other human activity, encountering the problems of platformisation. Particularly, the use of pedagogical documentation to share the results of the educational work with families is frequently entrenched with the use of social media, a space where the educational practice meets the media consumption expectations of families, pushing for more and more “children’s content” (Restiglian et al., 2023). According to recent research on datafication at the school and higher education level, the educators face the critical dilemma of “resist” or “align” with the external pressures made by institutions or families to adopt platforms and their technological infrastructure (Jacovkis et al., 2022; Raffaghelli, 2022).
The portrayed scenario requires further understanding and exploration. There is a compelling need to study the relationship between platforms, families, and the ECEC system from several interdisciplinary perspectives.

Questions arising from this emergent landscape that address relevant research are:

 Are decreasing birth rates in the Western world generating families and educational approaches that push for bio-codification and digital tracking as an approach to control and to reach the best results in parental and educational roles?
 Are there specific contextual factors influencing the engagement (by families and ECEC institutions) with data and platforms?
 Even more, is the promise of easy data tracking and visualisation supporting good decision-making about the child’s health, education, and social life, shaping parents and educators’ media consumption?
 Can families and educators imagine and deploy collaborative approaches to improve media consumption?
 How can families and educators generate spaces for creativity or resistance to platformisation? We consider this special issue an opportunity to reflect on the questions’ above. We hope that in the process, new questions will be brought to the fore by the academic community committed to advance of research and practice in this topic.

Please consider the following important dates:

 Abstracts submission until September 10, 2024
 Final papers submission until December 22, 2024
 Papers Review – from 1 january 2025-30 april 2025 (including two rounds)
 Papers final version within May 30, 2025
 Issue publication :June 2025

Barassi, V. (2020). Child Data Citizen: How Tech Companies Are Profiling Us from Before Birth. MIT Press.

Jacovkis, J., Rivera-Vargas, P., Parcerisa, L., & Calderón-Garrido, D. (2022). Resistir, alinear o adherir. Los centros educativos y las familias ante las BigTech y sus plataformas educativas digitales. Edutec. Revista Electrónica de Tecnología Educativa, 82, Article 82.

Lupton, D., & Williamson, B. (2017). The datafied child: The dataveillance of children and implications for their rights. New Media & Society, 19(5), 780–794.

Pangrazio, L., & Sefton-Green, J. (2022). Leartning to Live well with data: Concepts and Challenges. In Learning to Live with Datafication. Educational Case Stuydies and Initiatives from Across the World (Luci Pangrazio and Julian Sefton-Green, p. online first). Routledge. Initiatives/Pangrazio-Sefton-Green/p/book/9780367683078;

Raffaghelli, J. E. (2022). Educators’ data literacy: Understanding the bigger picture. In Learning to Live with Datafication: Educational Case Studies and Initiatives from Across the World (pp. 80–99). Routledge.

Restiglian, E., Raffaghelli, J. E., Gottardo, M., & Zoroaster, P. (2023). Pedagogical documentation in the era of digital platforms: Early childhood educators’ professionalism in a dilemma. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 31.

Rivera-Vargas, P., Parcerisa, L., & Fardella, C. (2023, December 12). Plataformas Educativas Digitales y Escolarización: Nuevos Retos y Alternativas hacia la Equidad Educativa y los Derechos de la Infancia. | Education Policy Analysis Archives

Important Dates

December 31, 2024: Articles submission deadline
February 20, 2025: Notification of article acceptance
April 15, 2025: Final article due
June 31, 2025: Publication of the issue

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