Computer Science Equity and Justice in Computing Conversations

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Equity & Justice in Computing: Sepehr Vakil, "Youth as Philosophers of Technology"

Event Type
Illinois Computer Science
Feb 23, 2022   3:30 pm  

Abstract: In this talk, I explore the idea of youth as philosophers of technology within a university-community partnership in the Chicago area where youth research and produce documentaries exploring the impact of technology on their communities. Youth as philosophers of technology decenters without devaluing core computing practices such as design, making, coding, and tinkering to instead foreground learning how to decode and unmake tech’s relationship with power through artistic, moral and humanistic inquiry. What is privileged pedagogically is youth learning to engage the multiple truths, contested meanings, and ethical implications of technology in local and global contexts. My analysis centers around the ethical, relational sense-making of two high school students who created a film examining how Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) use surveillance technologies to monitor and track immigrants and how immigrant communities have created technologies of resistance for themselves. This study has implications for how we conceptualize technology learning, research youth sensemaking, and design learning environments that empower youth to critique and reimagine technologies.

Bio: Sepehr Vakil is an assistant professor of Learning Sciences in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. Previously he was Assistant Professor of STEM Education and the Associate Director of Equity & Inclusion in the Center for STEM Education at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his PhD in the Education in Mathematics, Science, and Technology program at UC Berkeley, and his B.S and M.S in Electrical Engineering from UCLA.

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Part of the Illinois Computer Science Speaker Series. 

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