University of Oulu

Mertala, P. (2020). Data (il)literacy education as a hidden curriculum of the datafication of education. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 12(3), 30-42.

Data (il)literacy education as a hidden curriculum of the datafication of education

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Author: Mertala, Pekka1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: National Association for Media Literacy Education, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-10-11


This position paper uses the concept of “hidden curriculum” as a heuristic device to analyze everyday data-related practices in formal education. Grounded in a careful reading of the theoretical literature, this paper argues that the everyday data-related practices of contemporary education can be approached as functional forms of data literacy education: deeds with unintentional educational consequences for students’ relationships with data and datafication. More precisely, this paper suggests that everyday data-related practices represent data as cognitive authority and naturalize the routines of all-pervading data collection. These routines lead to what is here referred to as “data (il)literacy” — an uncritical, one-dimensional understanding of data and datafication. Since functional data (il)literacy education takes place subconsciously, it can be conceptualized as a form of hidden curriculum, an idea that refers to lessons taught and learned but not consciously intended to be so.

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Series: Journal of media literacy education
ISSN: 2167-8715
ISSN-E: 2167-8715
ISSN-L: 2167-8715
Volume: 12
Issue: 3
Pages: 30 - 42
DOI: 10.23860/JMLE-2020-12-3-4
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 520 Other social sciences
516 Educational sciences
Copyright information: © 2020 Author(s). This is an open access, peer-reviewed article published by Bepress and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.