Issues in Digital Technology & Education

In EDUC 5860, we examine a broad and ever-changing range of social, cultural and pedagogical issues arising from the use of digital technologies for education and learning (in and outside schools).

This year’s Issues course is necessarily impacted by the challenges that have emerged alongside the Covid19 pandemic. How might we use digital technologies and new media – together – for learning under conditions of Covid19 (and in ways that support innovative pedagogies, self-directed inquiry and learning through making/production)? How can practices of inquiry, ‘hands-on’ practical learning, and creative design be supported online and off?  And how can our attempts to rethink learning (under conditions of pandemic) impact and transform teaching and learning more generally (leading to critique of given systems and possible transformations). Finally, how can we creatively re-purpose tools like Wikimedia systems, smartphones, game design software, and widely available media tools for creative, collaborative and interdisciplinary learning, knowledge making and sharing?

In changing landscapes, it is increasingly argued that 21st century learners need to be understood as co-makers and critical (re)designers of authentic knowledge, art and culture. To these ends, this course will examine a range of pedagogies and tools that seek to maximize the opportunities of digital networks, technologies and media ecologies for creative, critical, and authentic learning, inquiry, and situated making.

The stakes of this discussion go beyond ‘technology education’ to address critical questions about participation, equity/equality, and democracy — and the creative capacity of anyone — in an increasingly networked society.

Course Aims

  • Explore ‘the Issues’: theories and novel practices surrounding digital culture and digital technologies for learning.
  • Examine dynamic models for (and obstacles to) meaningful ‘system change’ – including informal learning models, game-based learning, inquiry-driven learning, and transformative initiatives being carried out in Ontario schools.
  • Do the theory: Engage digital technologies – hands-on – and make knowledge, art and culture while enacting theoretical models through our own situated research, design, and multimodal/multimedia  production and sharing.
  • Do you have Issues? Bring your issues and research interests into the course.