New kid on the block? a conceptual systematic review of digital agency
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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The digitalisation of education has been emphasised over the last two decades, affecting and developing both the theories and practices of teaching and learning. Considering these developments, the need for addressing teachers’ and students’ digital competence has gained ground. In the last few years, the concept of digital agency has been noted in empirical and theoretical research – broadly focusing on the integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) in educa- tion. Nonetheless, how digital agency is understood and how it relates to the more established concept of digital competence remains unclear. To address this gap, we conducted a conceptual systematic review and examined the current state of the knowledge on digital agency. Specifically, we review the conceptualisations of digital agency, its underlying theoretical frameworks, and how it relates to digital competence and similar concepts. Database searches resulted in 32 publications, with the majority published in education and design journals and stemming from Scandinavian countries. Our findings show that out of 32 studies, only one aimed at defining digital agency explicitly. Nevertheless, for the last three years, digital agency has been more frequently used in the body of literature, emphasising the design and transformation of teaching and learning with technology towards a ‘new normal’ considering the post-pandemic era and lessons learned. Reviewing the ex- tant body of knowledge on digital agency, we review the strengths and weaknesses of the concept and compare it to the more established notion of digital competence. Finally, we discuss implications for policy, research, and practice in education.