Technology, Knowledge and Learning

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 103–120 | Cite as

A Framework for Learning About Big Data with Mobile Technologies for Democratic Participation: Possibilities, Limitations, and Unanticipated Obstacles

  • Thomas M. PhilipEmail author
  • Sarah Schuler-Brown
  • Winmar Way


As Big Data becomes increasingly important in policy-making, research, marketing, and commercial applications, we argue that literacy in this domain is critical for engaged democratic participation and that peer-generated data from mobile technologies offer rich possibilities for students to learn about this new genre of data. Through the lens of what we term the paradigms of technology and cutting-edge content as an educational end, means, and equalizer, we explore how learning about Big Data with mobile technologies exists at the critical intersection of issues such as the purpose of schooling, global competitiveness, corporate profit, student agency, and democratic participation. These competing interests surface tensions at the classroom, institutional, and societal levels. Engaging these tensions, we offer a framework of student objectives for learning about Big Data with mobile technologies. Through a reflection on the challenges we continue to encounter as we attempt to implement innovative curriculum within the constraints of urban public schools, we hope to prompt dialogue and changes in practice with respect to what it means to learn for democratic participation using Big Data.


Big Data Mobile technology Learning Democratic participation Ideology 



This work was supported by NSF grant MSP-0962919.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas M. Philip
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sarah Schuler-Brown
    • 1
  • Winmar Way
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Education and Information StudiesUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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