Neither apocalyptic nor integrated: new ways of thinking about our relationship with digital technologies

by Ezequiel Passeron, University of Barcelona / Faro Digital, Spain.

The relationships between individuals, groups, and digital technologies have intensified rapidly and dramatically in recent years. This contemporary reality imposes on us an attitude of questioning. What questions do we need to ask ourselves from education in the face of the growing personalization and individualization of human experience?

For some time now, we have coexisted among applications and digital services mediated by algorithmic systems. Users access information mediated by what Rodriguez (2020) defines as the DAP system (data, algorithms, platforms) or what García Marín (2021) understands as the magic triangle of the political economy of the internet. There is no longer a need to search for information; it appears to us in feeds, search engines, and screens. This phenomenon, known as the attention economy (UOC, 2021), challenges our role as teachers and caregivers of the new generations of children and young people. How can we explain the operating model of digital technology to promote reflective, critical, and autonomous uses of emerging technologies?

Historical conception and educational relational strategies

Faced with the growing personalization of information consumption, Ines Dussel (2021) suggests that the teaching community must become the antithesis of algorithmic logic; that is, designating content and materials for students that do not leave them fixed in their past searches but seek to open a path of emancipation (Ranciere, 1987), something that arises from the teacher’s intuition regarding what might interest a student.

Researcher Paula Sibilia (2012) understands that technologies are neither good nor bad (nor neutral) but are ambivalent and historical; they bring with them interests, values, ways of living, and possibilities (or impossibilities) of representation. Professor Mariana Moyano (2019) emphasized the importance of caring for questions in a context of constant and rapid change. What goals does the development of such and such technology pursue? What is the (decision) policy of that medium?

Where can the school position itself to establish links with the digital world? To answer this question, it is necessary to recognize the historical nature of educational institutions as artifacts, virtualities, or devices aimed at study, learning, and world practice. From this conception, we can locate the questions and challenges of education, as technology, in constant and necessary dialogue with digital technologies. How to cultivate new relationships with these environments?

Researcher Donna Haraway (1984) already proposed the need to deconstruct human connections with digital machines. This implies moving away from dichotomous vision so that from the borders, cracks, or intersections we can think, imagine, and open new meanings. This is a concrete invitation to move away from integrated or apocalyptic positions regarding media/technologies (Eco, 1964). From where to think of a third position?

Relationships are at the center of the proposal for the use of digital technologies by the research group in Digital Communication and Information at the University of Zaragoza. This conceptual shift, from ICT to TRIC (relationship, information, and communication technologies), is accompanied by the commitment to design new ways of connecting with digital environments

The relational proposal of Faro Digital

Faro is a civil society organization that has been studying, analyzing, researching, and promoting media education (the intersections between communication, education, and digital technologies) since 2015. Through teaching/learning methodologies, it seeks to provide the educational community with quality information and resources to transform pedagogies in classrooms, promoting care in digital environments and the accompaniment of children and young people.

With the question as the main (and initial) tool of knowledge (Freire, 1970), dialogue (and communication) as an essential resource for learning and social bonding (Kaplún, 2002), and the community of inquiry (Lopez, 2008); Faro impacts the educational community through specific projects:

  • Proyecto Escuelas: workshops and training sessions for the entire educational community. In 2024, the focus will be on the majority demands of schools and family homes (incidental consumption – access to pornography; online gambling – virtual casinos, sports betting houses; and pedagogical uses of artificial intelligence – with a course called “Citizenship and Artificial Intelligences“).
  • Educar con sentido: a space for dialogue and exchange between academics, members of civil society, the private sector, and the public sector.
  • Campaigns: to promote activism and awareness for the fulfillment of human rights in digital environments.
  • Network communication: through Instagram and X, we seek to engage citizens in reflection and critical thinking regarding the digital world.
  • E3: a certification program to build good practices in digital citizenship; seeks to support educational centers in building cultural and sustained methodologies and processes over time in media education.

To organize workshops with your community or establish institutional alliances, write to


Ezequiel Passeron, Ph.D. in Education and Society (University of Barcelona), Director of Educommunication at Faro Digital and Associate Professor (University of Barcelona).


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