Co-designing a values-based future of digital education (workshop)

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Are you thinking about how education can respond to complex, challenging and uncertain digital futures?

About this event

Educational technology is predominantly steered by companies who envision the ‘future’ of education as a data-driven system in which real-time feedback, personalization, evidence-based learning, school efficiency and continuous innovation will drive and improve education. Are you thinking about how education can respond to this complex, challenging and uncertain future?

On Monday, 25 January 2021 (14:00 – 17:00 Brussels time), the VUB Research Chair ‘Data Protection On The Ground’ will host an online, interactive workshop under the header “Co-designing a values-based future for digital education”. The practical workshop is a side event of the Computers, Privacy and Data Protection (CPDP) conference 2021 which will be followed by a public debate on Tuesday 26 January (16:00-18:00) in a Data-Date organised by the Knowledge Centre Data & Society. During the CPDP Conference, the Chair on Data Protection On The Ground is also present with a panel discussion on ‘Ready for a crisis: accelerated digitalization in education’.

A values-based future for teaching

At the core of this event is a workshop which draws on the Near Future Teaching Project at the University of Edinburgh, a project that was designed to engage with futures methods to craft a values-based future of teaching for the university. This workshop will help us think through the opportunities and challenges presented in the uncertainty of our current times and to articulate a ‘preferable’ future for education amidst all those probable futures available to us. We will work together to consider future scenarios and what these could mean for education.

The workshop will be accompanied by talks from distinguished speakers to help us further frame what we can expect from the near future of education and what agency we have in that process. Read the full programme below.

The Chair on Data Protection On The Ground

The VUB Chair “Data Protection On the Ground” (DPOG) promotes the investigation into actual practices of data privacy in organizations and the dissemination of best practices. The Chair is coordinated by the research center imec-SMIT (Studies on Media, Innovation & Technology) in collaboration with the research group LSTS (Law, Science Technology & Society), and supported by BNP Paribas Fortis. You can find the 2019 annual report of the Chair on this website.

Workshop programme


  • Introduction – Prof. dr. Jo Pierson, Vrije Universiteit Brussel


  • Future of Digital Education – Dr. Michael Gallagher, Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh
  • Big tech infrastructures and the autonomy of schools – Dr. Niels Kerssens, Universiteit Utrecht
  • Data protection and education: two sides of the same coin – Dr. Rossana Ducato, University of Aberdeen, School of Law


  • Break


  • Interactive workshop ‘Co-designing a values-based future for digital education’ – Dr. Michael Gallagher, Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh


  • EU Digital Education Action Plan – Georgi Dimitrov, Head of Unit Digital Education, European Commission


  • Wrap-up and questions

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