25 SES 11, Digital and Civic Spaces
How might we design social media and social networks (e.g., online makerspace communities) to foster civic engagement and expression amongst youth? Mobile, physical, and virtual makerspaces are reshaping teaching and learning in schools throughout the world, and rapidly popping up in classrooms, libraries, museums, science centers, academic campuses, and diverse environments where learners and creatives work alongside each other. Makerspaces offer young citizens new opportunities to stimulate social and technological change in their lives, schools, communities, and challenging global contexts. Makerspaces invite children to participate in creating the technologies that create our world, as well as to take part in changing who controls, leads, and owns our future.
Characterized by tween fieldwork and designworks, the makerspace research setting of this study was developed to offer girls an empowering environment for exploring civic technologies and youth rights concerning the knowledge made about their lives and learning circumstances. 30 females (ages 10 - 13) participated in roles as co-researchers challenged to create social change games (e.g., the momME alternate reality game), robotic inventions, websites, posters, and public service announcements critiquing how girls are portrayed in the media. Based on the co-researchers’ catalytic or generative artifacts and “little stories” (e.g., Lyotard’s petits récits), this study offers ten design recommendations to guide and support youth civic engagement in equity-oriented makerspaces. Increasing scholarly interest in the international maker movement, maker education, and maker culture reinforces the need for methodological advancements and insights, thereby making this session relevant and timely. Further, this study generates new possibilities for scholarly inquiry with youth as research partners and advocates of social change.
Although today’s girls are the most avid technology users of any generation, they are significantly underrepresented in its creation and innovation. Academic and industry research from the past 30 years documents that many girls are continuing to distance themselves from technology fields, careers, symbolism, and ideologies (Hill, Corbett & St. Rose, 2010). This has serious consequences for girlhood, womanhood, and the future of technological innovation: “If technology is designed mostly by the half of our population that's male, we're missing out on the innovations, solutions, and creations that 50% of the population could bring” (Ashcraft, Eger & Friend, 2012). Increasing female participation in the global technology sphere is essential to ensure that their experiences, needs, and skills are valued and represented in ways that result in meaningful and positive outcomes for both the lives of girls and the future of our technologically dependent world. Highlighting the need for youth to be recognized and given influence in the educational research concerning their lives and learning circumstances, this session will address the gendered risks and opportunities, technical ingenuity, and digital citizenship that a team of girls articulate and reflect upon at an equity-oriented makerspace within a University campus setting.
This research takes a feminist technology and girl empowerment approach that builds upon the scholarly work of: 1) Allhutter’s (2012) deconstructive feminist theory of mind scripting; 2) Brandtzaeg, Haugstveit, Lüders & Følstad’s (2015) youth-centred research principles for capturing children’s experiences and expressions of civic engagement; 3) Freeman and Mathison’s (2009) constructivist approach for engaging children as “true” partners in researching their learning, growth, and development; and 4) Petrina, Feng, and Kim’s (2008) theories and techniques for researching technology, cognition, and learning across the lifespan. While these scholars occupy a variety of theoretical positions, they are all committed to learning alongside youth as research partners (not research objects), as well as to counter traditional positivist research by developing new ways of inquiring into the complexity of youth cultures and youth learning, especially in relation to technology.
Allhutter, D. (2012). Mind Scripting: A method for deconstructive design. Science, Technology & Human Values, 37, 684–707. Ashcraft, C. & Eger, E. & Friend, M. (2012). Girls in IT: The facts. Boulder, CO: National Center for Women & IT. Brandtzaeg, P., Haugstveit, I., Lüders, M. & Følstad, A. (2015). Participation barriers to youth civic engagement in social media. Proceedings of 9th International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM 15). Oxford. Brennan, M., Barnett, R. & McGrath, B. (2009). The intersection of youth and community development in Ireland and Florida: Building stronger communities through youth civic engagement. Community Development, 40, 331–345. CYCC Network (2013). Youth engagement: Empowering youth voices to improve services, programs, and policy. Retrieved online: http://cyccnetwork.org/en/engagement Freeman, M. & Mathison, S. (2009). Researching children’s experiences. New York, NY: The Guliford Press. Hill, C., Corbett, C. & St. Rose, A. (2010). Why so few? Women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Washington, DC: American Association of University Women Foundation. Jacquez, F., Vaughn, L., & Wagner, E. (2012). Youth as partners, participants or passive recipients: A review of children and adolescents in Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR). American Journal of Community Psychology, 1–14. Lather, P. (1986). Issues of validity in openly ideological research: Between a rock and a soft place. Interchange, 17(4), 63–84. Mallan, K. (2003). Performing bodies: Narrative, representation and children’s storytelling. Flaxton, QLD: Post Pressed. Martinez, S. & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering & engineering in the classroom. Torrance, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. Matthews, T. L., Hempel, L. M., & Howell, F. M. (2010). Gender and transmission of civic engagement: Assessing the influence of youth civic activity. Sociological Inquiry, 80 (3), 448–474. Papaioannou, T. (2013). Media and civic engagement: The role of web 2.0 technologies in fostering civic participation among youth. In D. Lemish (Ed.), The Routledge international handbook of children, adolescents and media studies (pp. 351–358). New York, NY: Routledge. Petrina, S, Feng, F. & Kim, J. (2008). Researching cognition and technology: How we learn across the lifespan. International Journal of Design and Technology Education, 18(4), 375–396. Ratto, M. (2011). Critical making: Conceptual and material studies in technology and social life. The Information Society, 27(4), 252–260. Schrock, A. (2014). ‘Education in disguise’: Culture of a hacker and maker space. InetActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, 10(1), 1–25.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
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