28 April 2023: Decoloniality in Edtech 2: decolonising research methods

To join this session please sign up via Zoom here

Leading the Session:

Dr Matt Smith is the Research Hub Lead for Digital and Lifelong Learning Contexts at the Centre for Research in Education and Social Transformation (CREST), University of Wolverhampton

Description of the session:  

This session will focus on using diverse methods for researching with and alongside marginalised and disadvantaged communities. Drawing on two published articles, we will investigate some of the more esoteric research methods using the maxim “nothing about us without us”: involving research participants from the start of all effective research, and including people at the margins of society. 

This session will suit anyone interested in qualitative research at all levels, funded or not, and will also support anyone who supervises research at any level, hopefully giving you insights into novel and innovative research methods that you and your students can use with any research participants, but particularly those who have been disenfranchised by one or more of the following: language, power, education, infrastructure, security or capacity.

Discussion and debate warmly welcomed! The presentation will be followed by breakout workshops where you can discuss the ideas with me and/or other event organisers.

+++Please bring with you an image that you are prepared to share on-screen in small workshop groups. This image should represent “research” to you +++

Overview and context

In a context where Sub-Saharan African education systems, economic systems, governmental systems, academia, and the region itself continue to experience the legacies of colonisation, this workshop series seeks to create and support a sustainable and critical community of emerging researchers, research-practitioners and academics in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), with a focus on the field of Education Technology (Edtech) in order to:

  • address the colonial issues embedded in the field of Edtech and academic publishing systems and processes whereby epistemic orthodoxy systematically excludes non-Western epistemological, ontological, and methodological practices, and; 
  • produce ground-breaking work that will catalyse distinctively African educational scholarship, voices, thoughts, experiences and agendas. 

This is the second of a series of 3 workshops over a 3 months period from March to May 2023, covering critical educational technology conceptual frameworks, decolonising research methods, research tools, techniques, ethics and governance, and supporting SSA researchers towards publication.

Objectives of the writing workshops series 

Goals involve: 

  • To create and support a sustainable and critical community of emerging academics in Sub-Saharan Africa concerned with the topic of Decolonising Educational Technology. 
  • Enable participants to submit high-quality papers to journals on educational technology such as – but not limited to – the UNESCO Chair Special Edition on Decolonising Education Technology.


The call for applications is open to emerging researchers or research practitioners from Sub-Saharan Africa, with a particular focus on education, education technologies, critical pedagogies, decolonising education, decolonising edtech, education and social justice, digital inclusion and digital rights in education, edtech and power. Participants from diverse backgrounds and minority groups are encouraged to apply. 

Convener’s Bio:

Dr Matt Smith is the Research Hub Lead for Digital and Lifelong Learning Contexts at the Centre for Research in Education and Social Transformation (CREST). Matt is also a Senior Lecturer in Primary Teacher Education and the Lead Tutor for BA(Hons) Year 3 Primary ITE students at the University of Wolverhampton. He was interim Head of Primary Education between December 2021 and June 2022. 

Senior Lecturer in Primary Education and co-author of Data for development: shifting research methodologies, Matt predominantly works on mobile and digital learning, particularly in the Globalised South; digital literacy; the use of social media for public health benefits; and decolonising research. He co-authored a report for the Department for International Development and the EdTech Hub on lessons learned to support governments’ digital responses to the educational crisis brought on by the pandemic. With Professor John Traxler, Matt has co-edited Digital Learning in Higher Education – Covid-19 and Beyond, which was published in June 2022. Matt is involved in research in Palestine focusing on developing mobile technologies for supporting teaching and learning; in Brazil, supporting school populations to influence virus control through mobile applications; and is Principal Investigator on an Erasmus+ project with partners across Europe creating a new online collaborative approach to learning.

Twitter handle: @MattSmithWlv

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-matt-smith-0156892b/ 

Website link: https://researchers.wlv.ac.uk/Matt.Smith/ 

To join this session please sign up via Zoom here


About the partners/organisers 

University of Wolverhampton

All of the academic Schools and Institutes at the University of Wolverhampton have areas of research strength, overseen by our established Research Centres, many of which work closely with industry on large-scale projects.

In the most recent UK Research Excellence Framework exercise, the University achieved its best ever results. In REF2021 the University of Wolverhampton has significantly grown its research and submitted 4 new subject areas and 75% more staff than in REF2014. The results show that more than half of our research is judged as internationally excellent (3*) and world-leading (4*).   

Sixteen subject areas submitted had elements of world-leading research, amongst which featured research on changing perceptions of the Black Country, eliminating gender and race discrimination and improving health outcomes for all.

Emerge Africa 

e/merge Africa is an educational technology network which is mostly for educational technology researchers and practitioners in African higher education. Since 2014 e/merge Africa has offered regular professional development activities in the form of online seminars and workshops and short courses.

EdTech Hub

EdTech Hub is a global research partnership. Our goal is to empower people by giving them the evidence they need to make decisions about technology in education. We use an integrated approach that marries research, technical assistance and innovation to address the educational challenges faced by low- and middle-income countries around the world. We do this by collaborating with partners to provide governments with the resources to effectively integrate EdTech into their education systems. We work globally, and also on the ground in 7 focus countries: Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Pakistan, Sierra Leone and Tanzania. We are supported by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, World Bank, and UNICEF. Learn more at www.edtechhub.org.

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