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Relational architectures and wearable space: Smart schools and the politics of ubiquitous sensation

de Freitas, Elizabeth and Rousell, David and Jäger, Nils (2019) Relational architectures and wearable space: Smart schools and the politics of ubiquitous sensation. Research in Education. ISSN 0034-5237 (In Press)

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Abstract

This paper undertakes an analysis of the “smart school” as a building that both senses and manages bodies through sensory data. The authors argue that smart schools produce a situation of ubiquitous sensation, in which learning environments are continuously sensed, regulated, and controlled through complex sensory ecosystems and data infrastructures. This includes the consideration of ethical and political issues associated with the collection of biometric and environmental data in schools, and the implications for the design and operation of learning environments which are increasingly regulated through decentralised sensor networks. Working through a relational and adaptive theory of architecture, the authors explore ways of intervening in smart schools through the reconceptualization of sensor technologies as “atmospheric media” that operate within a distributed ecology of sensation that exceeds the limited bandwidth of the human senses. Drawing on recent projects in contemporary art, architecture, and interaction design, the authors discuss specific architectural interventions that foreground the atmospheric qualities and ethical problematics of sensor technologies in school buildings.

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