Digital labour in school: Smartphones and their consequences in classrooms

Antti Paakkari, Pauliina Rautio, Verneri Valasmo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This paper reflects on the forms of digital labour present in upper secondary school students’ smartphone use during the school day. Digital labour is understood as value-producing online activity, for example the labour of producing content for social media platforms such as Instagram or Facebook. Through analysis of students’ phone use in classroom we approach aspects of digital labour intertwining with school. In the paper, theoretical perspectives on digital labour are connected with ethnographic data on student phone use. Our findings suggest that digital labour has become a permanent part of school life. Two main consequences are identified. Firstly, for the students the school is no longer a place where work doesn’t take place, as digital labour intertwines with the school day. Secondly, technologies introduce new corporate actors into the classroom space that schools have to negotiate with.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLearning, Culture and Social Interaction
Pages (from-to)161-169
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 516 Educational sciences
  • Mobile phones
  • Digital labour
  • Classroom
  • Capitalism

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