“La Cañada Real”, in the outskirts of Madrid, is one of the last shantytowns in Europe. After almost three months without electricity, children write to the UN this holiday season: “It’s like torture”.

Close to the M-50, one of Madrid’s motorways, the shanty town of La Cañada Real stretches for 15km along the municipalities of Rivas-Vaciamadrid, Coslada and Madrid itself. Barely 20 minutes away from Madrid’s city center, it is the largest informal settlement in Europe. Whether it be the drug cartels in its infamous sector 6 or the prevailing absenteeism in secondary school, La Cañada has been a source of local debate in the past decade. More recently, the lack of electricity in the area has caused numerous protests by its inhabitants.

“Electricity is a right”, shows a sign at a protest. SOURCE: Daniel Rodrigo Arenas

For almost 3 months now, La Cañada’s residents have been…


The adoption of online learning methods in the light of Covid-19 makes an informed approach on how EdTech companies use our data vital.

This article is part 2 of a two-part series I’m writing about Higher Education, data and surveillance. Part 1 details instances of surveillance on campus and on online spaces. Part 2 discusses our increased dependency on data to drive education programmes.

During lockdown and social-distancing, students, academic staff and Higher Education (HE) administrators have completely changed the way university education is imparted. Everything we do related to university, like many other activities, is now done through online channels. …


Covid-19 and the push for online learning makes critical perspectives on mass monitoring and data collection in universities more necessary than ever

In the span of a few days, universities across the globe shifted to delivering their courses entirely online. Whether it’d be in the form of a Teams seminar, or watching your professor give a lecture through Zoom, the adaptability of both staff members and students to learning through digital channels in the light of the pandemic was impressive, and is generating debates about the future of higher education (HE) and remote learning.

Predicting the direction in which HE will change is difficult. The pandemic brought to light the extent to which education has been commodified and, in the case of…

Victoria Verdesoto

Anthropology student. Spain/UK.

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