The role of digital technologies in lives and learning: Dilemmas and potentials for migrant students and schools

Mette Vedsgaard Christensen, Line Krogager Andersen, Thomas Enemark Lundtofte

Research output: Contribution to conference without a publisher/journalPaperResearchpeer-review


The Ukrainian refugee children who arrived in Denmark, found themselves in a highly digitalized schoolenvironment, where learning materials and activities are organized around so-called learning platforms.Additionally, tools for translation, writing and content-searching are widely available, and the result is,that teaching and learning in the reception classes can be seen as a series of practices, that are neitheranalog nor digital but rather an entanglement of the two (Fawns, 2022).Theoretical framework, methodology and findingsHowever, this digitalization raises both ethical, pedagogical and linguistic issues: Using learningplatforms and making for-profit and non-educational technologies an integrated part of teaching andlearning can be problematic in a free, public school system (van Dijck, Poell & Waal 2018). From alanguage pedagogical viewpoint, the often highly individualized digital learning activities pose achallenge to language pedagogy, as language acquisition is linked to a communicating classroom. Thelearning platforms can also introduce pedagogical practices for feedback not normally associated withcurrent pedagogical trends. At the same time, we also see that the access to just-in-time linguisticsupport in the form of translation technologies enhances opportunities for active participation in teachingactivities and peer interaction. However, the use of automatic translation constitutes a practice that mayoverlook linguistic and cultural aspects of translation and language acquisition (Lundtofte, Andersen &Christensen, forthcoming).Digital technologies also provide the students in our study with a unique possibility of continuing theirUkrainian education, as many of them participated in online education provided by the Ukrainiangovernment. The initial purpose of the online-school was to make sure the students were able to follow aUkrainian curriculum and hence facilitate their return to the Ukrainian school system. However, thestudents who participate in Danish and Ukrainian schooling experience long school days and conflictingdemands from two very different school systems, and they are faced with questions regarding theirinvestment in both language and subject learning in the new country (Christensen, Kapustian & Nielsen,forthcoming).Relevance to Nordic educational researchIn our presentation we will explore the dilemmas and potentials regarding the observed practices in ourstudy and we will discuss these in the light of teaching and learning for migrant students and moreoverarching pedagogical discussions regarding the use of digital technologies in schools
Original languageEnglish
Publication date7 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2024
EventNERA 2024: Adventures of Education: Desires, Encounters and Differences - Malmö University, Malmø, Sweden
Duration: 6 Mar 20248 Mar 2024


ConferenceNERA 2024
LocationMalmö University


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