12613 EF: Youth Perspectives on Equity, Access and Information Exchange in Educational Technology: Implications for Research, Practice, and Policy

06/13/2015 @ 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
El Capitan B

Organizers: Katie Davis, Karen Fisher, Negin Dahya
Presenters: Jason Yip, Liz Mills

On October 16-17 2014, the Information School at the University of Washington hosted a think tank to take stock of and explore research on youth, digital media, and learning across disciplinary boundaries. With funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Digital Youth Seattle Think Tank (DYSTT, http://dystt.ischool.uw.edu/) brought together approximately 100 leaders in academia, industry, practice, and policy to discuss the current state of research related to youth and technology. Issues of equity and access emerged as dominant themes that shaped the conversation over two days. The purpose of this DML workshop is to continue that conversation, bring it to a new group of scholars and practitioners, and probe more deeply the opportunities and challenges associated with equity, access, and literacy in the field of digital media and learning.

We will take as our starting point the youth panel that kicked off the DYSTT. The organizers believed strongly that an event dedicated to exploring youth and technology should start with and be framed by the voices of young people themselves. The youth panel included eight Seattle-area high school students representing diverse socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. We invited the teen panelists to reflect on how they use digital media in various aspects of their lives, including social relationships, learning, self-expression, and fun.

The teens’ responses surfaced several issues related to their use of technology in formal and informal settings. Three of these issues emerged as particularly salient and will serve to focus conversation and activities in this DML workshop. They include: 1) the persistence of socioeconomic disparities in youth’s access to educational technologies, despite policy initiatives to address these inequities; 2) the diverse—and often diverging—roles of families, schools, and informal learning institutions in youth’s experiences with technology; and 3) strategies for leveraging the local knowledge, resources, and social networks of non-dominant groups to identify and promote information sharing, enrichment of formal/informal learning, and solutions to inequity in and with technology. The workshop’s focus on the teen panelists’ responses will allow for deeper insight into the role of digital media in issues related to equity, access, marginalization, and learning among youth today.

Workshop facilitators will start the session with a brief overview of the DYSTT event focus areas and key themes. Workshop participants will then engage in a series of design activities aimed at surfacing, probing, and synthesizing core issues through the visual mapping of important topics raised by youth and adult participants at DYSTT. We will encourage workshop participants to contribute insights from their own work in an effort to build on the outcomes of DYSTT. Throughout, we will emphasize the roles of research, practice, and policy in solutions to inequity in educational technology. Documentation from the workshop will be added to our public website and contribute to a white paper, allowing the insights and solutions emerging from the DYSTT and the DML workshop to reach a broader audience.

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