In the context of increasing realizations of the fragility of democracy, the possibilities and accomplishments of youth activist projects across material and virtual spaces and sites continue to flourish. Research on this work is situated in the rich scholarly traditions of critical youth studies and critical youth literacies as well as in theories of civic engagement, public pedagogy, participatory politics, cosmopolitanism, and relational mobilities. Many youth projects draw on the resources of arts, digital media, and critical multiliteracies to participate, in material ways, in public and political life. Taking up issues such as citizenship for immigrant youth, homelessness, and poverty, young people powerfully create critical, social, and political narratives that resonate within and beyond their own communities. Theorizing this work in relation to public engagement, spatiality, and mobilities deepens our understanding of those moments when youth in community and educational sites create powerful transmediated counter-narratives about their lives and worlds—the ways they incorporate both local and global understandings to create these new forms of political participation. And the work itself underscores the need for more equitable access to various multimodal and digital resources and the importance of youth access to public and mediated spaces. Schools and educators are called to create pedagogical spaces that invite students’ subjectivities, locations, and creative uses of material resources to engage in local and larger public dialogues, counter dominant cultural ideologies, address multiple publics, and create new forms of political participation.
Youth Activism through Critical Arts, Transmedia, and Multiliteracies
“Globalization,” Coloniality, and Decolonial Love in STEM Education
Miwa A. Takeuchi and Ananda Marin
From the era of European empire to the global trades escalated after the World Wars, technological advancement, one of the key underlying conditions of globalization, has been closely linked with the production and reproduction of the colonizer/colonized. The rhetoric of modernity characterized by “salvation,” “rationality,” “development,” and nature-society or nature-culture divides underlies dominant perspectives on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education that have historically positioned economic development and national security as its core values. Such rhetoric inevitably and implicitly generates the logic of oppression and exploitation. Against the backdrop of nationalist and militaristic discourse representing modernity or coloniality, counter-voices have also arisen to envision a future of STEM education that is more humane and socioecologically just. Such bodies of critiques have interrogated interlocking colonial domains that shape the realm of STEM education: (a) settler colonialism, (b) paternalism, genderism, and coloniality, and (c) militarism and aggression and violence against the geopolitical Other. Our ways of knowing and being with STEM disciplines have been inexorably changed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which powerfully showed us how we live in the global chain of contagion. What kinds of portrayal can we depict if we dismantle colonial imaginaries of STEM education and instead center decolonial love—love that resists the nature-culture or nature-society divide, love to know our responsibilities and enact them in ways that give back, love that does not neglect historical oppression and violence yet carries us through? STEM education that posits decolonial love at its core will be inevitably and critically transdisciplinary, expanding the epistemological and ontological boundaries to embrace those who had been colonized and disciplined through racialized, gendered, and classist disciplinary practices of STEM.
Teaching Writing in the Digital Era
In the digital era, written communication for children and youth is changing. As texts and media include complex intersections of print, image, sound, and other modalities, the ways in which writing is conceived is shifting. The evolution and impact of digital technologies follow a long history of invention, innovation, and change in written communication, with critiques of writing and communication technologies present in both historical and contemporary contexts. A new development in contemporary digital culture is the significant and widespread participation of children and youth in digital media and communication due to the ubiquity, affordances, and appeal of mobile digital devices. In the history of writing instruction, pedagogical approaches and perspectives have continued to evolve, with the teaching of writing at times positioned as subordinate to the teaching of reading, a pattern that has repeated into the digital era in which an emphasis on digital writing production and text creation has been similarly less of a focus than receptive consumption of media. Shifts in digital practice and the emergence of new devices for writing present both challenges and opportunities for the teaching of writing and the creation of texts in schools, with issues of digital resource provision and access to technology presenting hurdles for some teachers. Teacher awareness of the digital worlds, practices, and “funds of knowledge” that students are bringing to the writing classroom is vital to reimagining the writing classroom within contemporary digital culture. In the 21st century, writing instruction needs to be inclusive of the operational demands of writing as well as sociocultural and critical requirements, in addition to responding to fluid technoliteracy contexts and consideration of how “writing” itself is changing.
A Critical Review and New Directions for Queering Computing and Computing Education
Technological imaginaries underpinning computing and technoscientific practices and pedagogies are predominantly entrenched in cisheteropatriarchal, imperialist, and militaristic ideologies. A critical, intersectional queer and trans phenomenological analysis of computing education offers an epistemological and axiological reimagining by centering the analysis of gender and sexuality through the lens of marginalized people’s experiences (queer, trans, and intersecting marginalities). It analyzes how systems of domination and liberation occur through relationships between objects, people, and their environments and how these systems of power multiply in effect when people are situated at multiple axes of oppression (such as gender, sexuality, race, and disability). Complexity, heterogeneity, and fluidity are at the core of queer and trans imaginaries and challenge the assumed naturalness of biological categories that underpin much of the cisheteronormative harm and violence in K-16 education, STEM (science, technological, engineering and medical) disciplinary practices, and technological innovations. Foregrounding complexity, heterogeneity, and fluidity supports the critique, construction, and transformation of computational objects, worlds, and learning environments so that queer and trans perspectives, narratives, and experiences are centered and valued. In doing so, ambiguity, fluidity, and body becoming are centered in virtual spaces, thereby offering emancipatory possibilities for supporting critical literacies of gender and sexuality. Methodologically, approaches rooted in active solidarity with queer and trans people and a commitment to listening to intersectional experiences of gender and sexuality-based marginalization and resilience reorient computing learning environments towards liberatory, justice-oriented practices. Computing scholars and educators have identified data science (more broadly) and algorithmic bias (in particular) as an essential domain for furthering education research and practice. Histories of erasure, exclusion, and violence on queer and trans people, both by carceral technologies and algorithmic bias, and as part of the computing profession, are enacted on individual people and reflected in societal biases that inform and shape public experiences of computing and technologies. Overall, queering computing education and computing education research directs attention towards a multifaceted problem: the historical and ongoing hegemonic, cisheteropatriarchal control over programming; the limitations to representation by code that a computer can recognize; the possibilities to queer code and computer architectures; the technological regulation of identity and bodies; and the limits and affordances of technological representation of gender and sexual identity. A queer, trans, intersectional, justice-oriented approach to computing education attends to the structural, socio-historical context in teaching and learning computer science and coding, including the dominant cultures of the technology workforce and the everyday disciplining interactions with technology that shape who we can become.
Motherhood and Education
Motherhood is the institution on which state and society have traditionally depended for preparing a well-socialized populace even before formal educational systems begin to have an effect. Mothering has taken a new urgency in a 21st-century globalized, neoliberal, and intricately connected world in which the social contract between the state and the individual has been in profound revision. Mothers are being expected to adapt to rapidly changing educational environments with on-site school systems disrupted in response to global health crises and homeschooling assuming spectacularly new meanings. New blended roles for tutoring, mentoring, and counseling while also nurturing the child are now the newest normal for mothers. Considering the pivotal role played by mothers in a human being’s birth, socialization, and education, perhaps educational research can progressively encourage a more nuanced incorporation of motherhood studies. It might be useful to examine the relationship between motherhood and education within a framework of familial power relations combined with a global studies in education perspective. The different facets of motherhood as well as the entangling of care and power are critical to the project of education. Motherhood as institution, motherhood as identity, and motherhood as experience thus become crucial coordinates for an interdisciplinary engagement with motherhood’s relationship with education. While educational technologies and online communication platforms have incrementally transformed the field of education, the mothers role has evolved and mothers often need to be educated so they may best guide their digital native wards. Parents jointly take many decisions regarding children’s education and future, but it is most often the mother who follows through with the agenda. This close personal involvement brings additional responsibilities, authority, and power—all of which have epistemological consequences, highlighting areas that might help establish nuanced connections between motherhood and education.
Online Education and Women’s Empowerment
Formal and informal online learning spaces have evolved into important sources of knowledge that are accessible to many, require limited mobility, and provide ubiquitous learning opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has led to a major jump in the increase of online learning to make learning available, accessible, and possible to the diverse learner population globally. Reducing the gender divide in access to knowledge and information has been the goal of many initiatives, and understanding how access has evolved and improved women’s opportunities to learn and be empowered is key to analyze the changing society. Women are empowered when they have access to learning and access is enhanced through the use of formal and informal online learning spaces and programs. With the knowledge gained, women’s capability is boosted with informed choices, active roles in the workforce, advancement in academics, and increased participation in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. Online learning can encourage and motivate women to actively participate in social or cultural movements as well as modify their roles as childbearers, caregivers, and home managers. Women empowerment and gender equality has been the focus of research for decades, but with the rise and availability of ubiquitous learning possibilities, women empowerment through the utilization of online learning opportunities is becoming an area that has much need for understanding. In the past, women were more passive about their marginalized position in society. However, women in the 21st century are more aware and active, and are disrupting their marginalized status with their increased use of digital spaces and online learning possibilities. They explore different sources of knowledge and information and join in different online education opportunities for formal and informal learning. Women not only empower themselves with the exploration of online resources but also others when they teach online, actively share information on social media, and participate in online discussion forums.
Moral Education and Technology
Paul Farber and Dini Metro-Roland
Moral education and technology seem to represent two fundamentally different kinds of concern and domains of inquiry. But these domains are fused in educational practice. Teaching as a fundamental human endeavor and form of activity has been a central component of human cultural evolution and regeneration from the earliest human social groupings. As a distinctive form of activity, teaching braids together ethical and instrumental norms and values. The modern, global institution of schooling has added layers of institutional support, constraint, and governance on the teaching it structures as well as increased scrutiny of the ethical and instrumental values in play; schooling is in effect a kind of moral technology for advancing certain norms and values in an efficient way. At present, technological developments with modern society make possible new forms of teaching and learning that likewise warrant scrutiny as they impact the ethical and instrumental ends of teaching and instructional practices today.
Lateral Thinking and Learning in Arts Education in the Post-Internet Art
Lynda Avendaño Santana
Lateral learning in the last two decades can be seen in peer-to-peer learning that is being promoted by new technologies where there are apps that allow students to work together in real time through virtual space, a method which thereby shifts the focus from the solitary self to the interdependent group which lives an educational experience of a collaborative and distributed nature, whose focus lies in instilling the principle of the social nature of knowledge. The ideological bases of lateral thinking are sustained by issues such as emancipation of the student from the authority of the teacher, the relationship of collaboration, permitting the development of individual appreciations and ideas, based simultaneously on those of their peers, on the democratization of knowledge, and so on, which ultimately refers to a collaborative creative education, to a democratic education, and to an education for democracy that assumes the new technologized context in which we live. Because of this, lateral thinking is increasingly influencing everyday life and areas such as education and the arts, as it happens in the post-Internet art, and more specifically net.art (i.e., an online art), which is a collaborative creative experience that has become an instrument which allows us to see a “new type of art in the 21st century.” Net.art, Internet art and the most experimental design, therefore constitutes a community experience that hypertextualizes computerized languages and generates poetic perspectives as artistic practices of lateral thinking. It has bestowed upon us a series of mechanisms to devise collaborative development strategies for lateral learning based on those creative ludic educational experiences of using and interacting with new technologies. This is essential to bear in mind because, as Jeremy Rifkin says, collaborative learning helps students to expand their own self-awareness, including their “self” in reference to diverse “others,” and promotes in-depth participation in more interdependent communities. It extends the territory comprised within the boundaries of empathy.
Donna E. Alvermann and William Terrell Wright
Naming is a curious practice. It entails rudiments, now mostly taken for granted, that serve to categorize everyday literacy practices across fields as diverse as cultural anthropology and the management of multiple Git profiles. As a term unto itself, adolescent literacies is not immune to the vagaries of naming. In fact, it serves as an excellent example of how commonly named concepts in education embed the field’s histories, debates, pedagogies, and policies writ large. Conceptualizing literacy in its plural form raised eyebrows among academics, researchers, practitioners, publishers, and indexers concerned with the noun–verb agreement in phrases such as “adolescent literacies is a subfield” of adolescence. For some, the very notion of literacy extending beyond reading and writing is still debatable. With each passing day, however, it becomes noticeably more evident that multimodal forms of communication—images, sounds, bodily performances, to name but a few ways of expressing oneself—are competing quite well in the marketplace of ideas that flow globally with or without a linguistic component attached to them. Aside from the naming process and its attendant political overtones, the practice of treating youth between roughly the ages of 12 and 17 as a monolithic group has been common in the United States. Largely traceable to a time in which developmental psychology dominated the field of literacy instruction (in the early to late 20th century), designating youth as adolescents equated to viewing them as some a normative group devoid of racial, class, gender, and any number of other identity markers. Even with the sociocultural turn in early 21st century and its abundance of studies reifying the socially constructed nature of adolescents, the term persists. Its adhesive-like attraction to literacies, however, may be weakening in light of research that points to youth who are agentic and dynamic game changers when it comes to participating in a world grown more attuned to the need for collaboration based not on hierarchical standing but instead on working through commonplace tensions too complex for any one solution.
Cyberculture and Education in Latin America
Rocío Rueda Ortiz and Alejandro Uribe Zapata
Particularly since the turn of the new millennium, the field of cyberculture and education in Latin America has undergone significant development. Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary studies have focused on the rise of a novel sociotechnical network, the product, on the one hand, of advances in information and communications technology, computing, and a broader reach of the internet, and, on the other hand, of the diverse appropriations of these advances by individuals and collectives. In general, the research questions addressed in this field analyze the continuities and transformations in areas such as the creation, circulation, and legitimization of information and knowledge inside and outside the educational institution; the forms of socialization, communication, and construction of individual and collective identities; and the modes of citizen participation, all of which have been catalyzed by the new technological ecosystem. In an initial stage, this field was marked by national and international policies of incorporating information and communications technology into education and, as a result, by the discussions on access to this technology, the digital divide, and the scope of technological infrastructure. This first stage was criticized for an instrumentalist and determinist emphasis on statistics regarding computer access and use in education that ignored the diverse and unequal processes of social and cultural appropriation of these factors. In a second stage of critical cybercultural studies, efforts were made to overcome technological determinisms, understanding information technologies not as something completed, closed, or definitive, but rather as part of the process of humanization—in other words, as devices that are transformed through interaction with individual and collective subjects, just as these latter reconfigure themselves to the extent that they interact with the former. What is highlighted here, on the one hand, is that the processes are heterogenic and sometimes contradictory in respect to what this sociotechnical interaction produces in the subjectivities; and, conversely, that imagination and invention are inherent to the technical objects. The human artifacts are thus not simple instruments mechanically joined to the social and cultural life of people. A third stage envisions challenges and new fields of research and creation in the production of knowledge arising from the peculiarity of Latin American educational, social, and cultural problematics. In particular, there is an emphasis on the need to include in an interrelated way intergenerational dimensions of race, gender, region, and social class in order to analyze the different and unequal forms of inclusion and appropriation of technologies. Similarly, studies begin to appear on “Commons” and “Commoning” as new ways of producing and sharing knowledge, as do grassroots educational proposals from the decolonial, situated feminist perspective calling for an intercultural dialogue on and recognition of indigenous, peasant, and Afro-descendant knowledge, worldviews and lifestyles that have appropriated technologies in diverse ways and for different purposes in the region.