Anticipating and mediating future classrooms. Ed-tech imaginaries of learning, communication and citizens making in Estonia and Sweden

A study that at close range follows how ed-tech companies in Estonia and Sweden materialize their imaginaries for the future classroom in their design and product development, marketing and representations, testbeds and classrooms.

The Covid 19 pandemic has accelerated the digitalization of education and triggered prospects for the development of “smart education” and emerging technologies like AI, AR, VR and biometrics. A key in this transformation of public education is ed-tech (educational technologies) and the industry surrounding it, in deeply digitalized countries like Estonia and Sweden. Ed-tech is never neutral but embedded in ideology, forecasts and anticipations, for example regarding “the future classroom”. We want to understand this production of “sociotechnical imaginaries” (Jasanoff & Kim) regarding how new technology can enhance learning and social progression. The project combines studies of media production, science and technology studies (STS), educational research, and critical and temporal hermeneutics.

Methodologically, the study is based on a multi sited ethnography with elements of visual methods, where qualitative interviews and participatory observations within the ed-ech sector in Estonia and Sweden are combined with ”future workshops” where ed-tech developers and teachers meet to create alternative imaginaries for “the future classroom”.