Research group at imec & Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Marco Houben


Personal Description

I’m researching the ‘platformization’ of public education. The emergence of educational technology (EdTech) boosts the platformization of public education at the expense of public values. Underpinned and helped by developments like digitization, datafication, commodification, liberalization and marketization, public education becomes more and more integrated into digital infrastructures, centered around a few powerful, private platforms. Digital platforms envision public education as a profitable, data-driven system in which real-time feedback, personalization, evidence-based learning, school efficiency and continuous innovation will drive and improve education. How will these developments impact public education as we know it? And how can we govern these developments and design a values-based future for public education together with users, platforms and other public institutions?

In my research, I look at the socio-technical construction of platformization by different actors and technologies in government, education and EdTech companies. My research takes a holistic perspective on the economic, cultural, political, and technological context from an historical, current and future perspective. I focus mainly on the consequences for, and governance of, the right to privacy and data protection. I started my PHD in 2020 after I had worked for many years as an entrepreneur in education, IT and conference management. Next to my PHD, I’m a Data Protection Officer (DPO).