11850 ED: Designing Learning Environments to Facilitate Equitable Change and Social Action

06/11/2015 @ 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
CA Ballroom F

Organizer: Thomas Philip
Presenters: Joseph Polman, Ben Kirshner, Tapan Parikh, Noel Enyedy

With the proliferation and near ubiquity of digital devices in our daily lives, digital media are now intricately linked to societal processes that simultaneously reproduce and challenge existing forms of inequity, create new forms of marginalization, and generate unprecedented possibilities for transformative solutions. This panel brings together five teams of researchers who explore young people’s engagement with new media in classrooms, communities, and the fluid spaces in between. Through an interactive symposium format, the presenters will highlight the intersections and tensions in their work as they collectively tackle the panel’s central, thematic question: how, under what conditions, and for whom, do new digital tools and media become resources for learning, political critique, and action by young people?

The session explores the unique affordances and limitations of digital tools and media in a wide-range of formal and informal contexts:
1. Tapan Parikh will draw on his findings from a 10th-grade Sociology course to illustrate how alternative pathways to computational thinking for underrepresented students, grounded in design and data, can support authentic social projects that are relevant to them and their communities.
2. Thomas Philip and colleagues will examine how the introduction of new digital tools in an introductory high school computer science course, which was intended to engage students of color in computational and statistical thinking, inadvertently re-inscribed inequitable racialized relationships of power.
3. Joseph Polman will examine the synergies and tensions that arise between cutting-edge science, complex data, and the personal and cultural concerns of youth and their communities, when young people in school and out-of-school contexts work with peers, teachers, program facilitators, and outside editors to produce infographics-based data journalism.
4. Ben Kirshner will draw on data from community-based youth organizing in Ireland, Northern Ireland, South Africa, and the United States to analyze variation in how groups mix face-to-face organizing with new digital media to build political power and voice among marginalized young people.
5. Noel Enyedy and colleagues will consider how “cybermurals” – digital murals jointly constructed by youth and community-based activist artists that are interactive and capable of being modified by audiences – engage youth in learning about urban planning while allowing them to develop identities as activists and members of the community.

To generate meaningful dialogue amongst the panelists and with the audience, each presentation will be limited to 8 minutes. During the 2-minute transitions between the presenters’ talks, the audience will be asked to individually reflect on the panel’s central, thematic question in light of the preceding presentation. After the formal presentations, and in lieu of a discussant, the panelists will engage in a dialogue amongst themselves. In this 20-minute segment, the panelists will pose questions to each other to highlight the convergences and divergences in their work, particularly with respect to the panel’s central, thematic question. The final 20-minutes will be reserved for a whole-group discussion to allow audience members to share their questions, comments, and insights.

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