This section should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.

Data centres

Watch this video and learn more about Data Centers:

Educational technology requires energy for various data centres (Selwyn, 2020: p. 502). There is nothing virtual or artificial about digital technology. Many infrastructures are necessary to run data centres that the usage of the Internet requires. In the United Kingdom, internet usage accounts for 8% of total energy consumption. Two internet searches generate the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle (Selwyn, 2020: p. 502). 38.5% of internet usage among students is for e-journals (Bisen et al., 2019: p. 2). The use of online libraries among universities is not eco-friendly. Each search requires a response from data centres that emits carbon dioxide.

Coevolutionary partners

Humans are coevolutionary partners with nature, not just technology (Selwyn, 2020: p. 504). Today’s technology usage is often individualistic and aims for higher efficiency. Instead, Selwyn (2020: p. 504) introduces a new concept of thinking, ‘ EdTech Within Limits’, which blends efficiency and sustainability when thinking about EdTech. This is included in EdTech narratives and processes. This concept involves principles of regeneration, recognition of more comprehensive systems, and balancing and thinking about empowerment and transformation. Sustainability is positively related to climate change (Jamieson, 2016). Today’s literature and media implications of sustainability in technology use are often discussed. Other factors that might encourage considering EdTech more from efficiency than from a sustainability point of view are the ambitious civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations and the increasing presence of private sector actors when shaping education.


Degrowth promotes material limits in a growing economy (Cattaneo & Gavalda, 2010: p. 581). It shows how non-monetary factors can help to live better. It highly promotes the restoration of Earth’s natural capital and protects the environment from climate catastrophe.

Watch this to find out more about the degrowth concept: 

Degrowth mechanisms for universities are necessary because they can help to stop climate change (Victor, 2012). Universities should introduce the degrowth principle as the core principle. All universities’ activities should be undertaken with the degrowth concept in mind, even when there is a conflict with other university principles. It is due to the high importance of a need to stop climate change. As Greta Thunberg mentioned in the video above, climate change can result in the extinction of humanity. If we aim for degrowth in the long term, we can achieve more than with growth.

Answer these questions:

  1. Do you agree with mentioned adverse effects of EdTech on climate change? Why? 
  2. How about your educational setting? Can you see those adverse effects appearing? What are some other negative impacts of EdTech on climate change in your educational environment?
  3. Would you say that there is excessive usage of EdTech? What about your educational setting?


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Cattaneo, C. & Gavaldà, M. (2010). The experience of rurban squats in Collserola, Barcelona: what kind of degrowth? Journal of cleaner production. [Online] 18 (6), 581–589.

Dexter, S. et al. (2021). Five leading-edge K-12 districts’ decision-making processes for EdTech innovations. Journal of educational administration. [Online] 59 (3), 352–366.

Gallagher, M. (2019). Educational unsustainability in sub-Saharan Africa:In search of counter-narratives to policy pressures and exponential tech growth.

Holfelder, A.-K. (2019). Towards a sustainable future with education? Sustainability science. [Online] 14 (4), 943–952.

Jamieson, L. (2016). Families, relationships and ‘environment’:(Un)sustainability, climate change and biodiversity loss.

Marrero, Á. S. et al. (2021). Convergence in road transport CO2 emissions in Europe. Energy economics. [Online] 99105322–.

Selwyn, N. et al. (2020). What’s next for Ed-Tech? Critical hopes and concerns for the 2020s. Learning, media and technology. [Online] 45 (1), 1–6.

Vetter, A. (2018). The Matrix of Convivial Technology – Assessing technologies for degrowth. Journal of cleaner production. [Online] 1971778–1786.

Victor, P. (2012). Growth, degrowth and climate change: A scenario analysis. Ecological Economics, 84, 206–212.