12616 ED: Intentional and Inclusive Design to Create Social-Technical Learning Systems

06/11/2015 @ 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
El Capitan A

Organizers: Caitlin Martin, Denise Nacu
Presenters: Ugochi Acholonu, Sheena Erete, Sybil Madison-Boyd, Asia Roberson, Jim Sandherr
Discussant: Kylie Peppler

Online networks have the potential to scale unique learning opportunities to communities who may not have access to interest-based projects, content experts who can provide feedback, learning resources, and ways to share work and ideas. A challenge is how to design systems on a large scale while simultaneously recognizing the specific knowledge, opportunities, challenges, and goals of different communities of learners.

Our panel will share four socio-technical designs intentionally developed to address inequalities in opportunities and participation for youth learners. The presenters–designers, researchers, and practitioners working with the Digital Youth Network in Chicago–contribute a range of perspectives. Each presentation will define the issue of equity being addressed; the focal community and their involvement in the design process; and the unique design intervention. Learning environments span classrooms, informal clubs, and city-wide initiatives. Each intervention uses online learning networks in conjunction with face-to-face time, and each engages in collaborative design with participants, including educators, organizers, and youth. Themes across presentations include: Recognizing expertise, interests, and goals of particular populations; Inviting participatory design; and Designing visualizations of use data that can reveal inequities within classes or communities to incite action.

1. Promoting online Latino youth voice through collaborative design
As more people use the Internet to learn, it is imperative that critical voices represent diverse viewpoints. We will share our collaborative design process with classrooms in a predominantly Latino community to develop features promoting dialogue, feedback, and interaction on an online learning platform. For these middle school students, 40% classified as English Language Learners, finding a voice to critique and contribute is complicated by different expectations and cultural norms between home and school.
2. Digital narratives to engage girls in computational making
Through the creation of interactive story experiences, we invite middle school girls to participate and persist in computational creation as they design wearable computing in an after school club. We share prototypes of the digital narratives, designed to employ story structure and character identification to move girls beyond STEM exposure to engaging in computational making and thinking.
3. Lowering barriers to computer science by bridging communities
Connecting non-dominant youth to relevant participatory computing cultures is one way to lower the barriers to their participation and engagement in computing. Using the Chicago City of Learning initiative as our context, we explain our approach to designing supports to help youth interact with expert networks, visualize pathways to computing expertise, and facilitate entrance to participatory cultures that have the potential to foster long-term engagement and expertise in computing.
4. Learning pathways: Application of an equity-informed framework
Transparent pathways are critical in addressing youth engagement and achievement barriers in under-resourced schools and families. We argue that connecting more youth to pathways is not enough; pathways must be designed with intentionality around how learning shapes identity, builds capital, and addresses equity. We will share our learning pathway framework and its application to a writing pathway created for Chicago City of Learning.

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