Cultural Studies of Technology for Education

Week 1 [January 7] Course Introduction

  • Welcome to 2020: Issues, controversies and concerns surrounding technologies, new media and networks.
  • ‘Object Lessons’: Connecting to Dadaab and the York BHER Program.
  • Syllabus Tour / Refugees Respond Wikimedia and Community Forum
  • Create Website Account: (I will need to activate your account).

All articles/readings and book chapters are available for download with the exception of Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir. To be completed by Week 6. Available and Indigo, etc. Students in Kenya & Somalia should already have a copy.

Week 2 [January 14] From Indigenous Knowledge to ‘Complexity Pedagogy’: Rethinking Technology & Learning

Meta Texts: As you read, create a concept mind-map/annotation system: Identify new terms, collect key quotes and diagram ideas/take-away points (along with your own critical reflections and personal connections).

  • How do the different authors understand “knowledge” and learning? And technology (in extended sense).
  • How are their respective understandings of knowledge and knowledge making different than Western/colonial forms of “understanding” and learning (e.g., traditional teaching and learning in schools)?
  • What can we learn from indigenous ways of knowing (IK), and knowledge as “verb”? Consider relations to “complexity” and emergence (Mitchell) and how might technology tools fit in?


  1. Brayboy & Maughan (2009). Indigenous Knowledge and the Story of the Bean, Harvard Educational Review, 79(1)
  2. Mitchell, G., et al (2016). DAAGU: Complexity Pedagogy and e-Learning: Emergence in Relational Networks, International Research in Higher Education Vol. 1, No. 1; 2016.

Extending the Readings: Using our Wikimedia and Message Board System

Wiki Production 1: Wikimedia / Message Boards

Week 3 [January 21] Literacy ‘Paradigms’: From Modern to Postmodern Literacies & ‘Designing Social Futures’
This week, we engage the work of foundational (and still leading) scholars on literacy, culture, technology and learning.

  • What do the authors argue about literacy paradigms (in changing contexts)? How are literacy paradigms like “technologies”?
  • Break down the why, what and how of multiliteracies and what is the import of concepts and practices like multimodal literacies, re/design, and key ideas like situated learning and critical framing?
  • Recursion: Can you map relations between IK and Multiliteracies (the what and how of multiliteracy learning)?


  1. de Castell, S., & Luke, A. (1986). Defining literacy in North American schools: Social and historical conditions and consequences. In S.C. de Castell, A. Luke, & K. Egan (Eds.), Literacy, society and schooling (pp. 87-109). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.*
  2. Cope, B. & Kalantzis, M. (2009). ‘Multiliteracies’: New literacies, new learning. Pedagogies: An International Journal, 4(3), 164-195.

Resource Only >> If you wish to take a look at the original work upon which reading 2 is based, see:  New London Group (1996). A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies: Designing Social Futures, Harvard Educational Review, 66(1). [Original New London Group Text]

In Class Activity: The Medium is The Message: Technology, Literacy & Learning Over Time

Wiki Production 2: Texts and Technology over Time

Week 4 [January 28] Production Pedagogy: From Actor-Network Theory to ‘Digital Ethics’

Dadaab / Nairobi / Somalia / Kakuma Students >>> Skip to Week 5

Blended Learning Day: No Face to Face Class. All discussion will take place on the course forum.

  1. Thumlert, K., de Castell, S., & Jenson, J. (2015). Short cuts and extended techniques: Rethinking relations between technology and educational theory. Educational Philosophy and Theory & In Press (Chapter): Routledge.
  2. Luke, A. (2018). Digital Ethics Now. Language and Literacy, 20(3). (Short)

WATCH: Production Pedagogies (Model)

Forum Production 3: Production Pedagogies and Launching our Forum

Week 5 [February 4] Video Making: Connecting inquiry and making to social action.
Connecting open-ended, inquiry-driven learning with video production (across genres and forms).

How do the authors interweave inquiry-driven learning and learning outcomes to video production?
Connections to Multiliteracies text or other readings?

In Class Video Making Experiments using ‘Ideation Card Decks’

Production: Video Works

Week 6 [February 11]  Putting Multimodality to ‘Work’/’Serious Play’ for (L2) Learning

Learning from Graphic Novels / Making Graphic Novel: Digital storytelling and graphic memoirs in superdiverse worlds.


  1. Lotherington, H. & Jenson, J. (2011). Teaching multimodal & digital literacy in L2 settings: New literacies, new basics, new pedagogies. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 31, 226-246.
  2. Bui, Thi (2017). The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir. Genre: Graphic Memoir.

What is Digital Storytelling? Narrativity & Multimodal Graphic Texts/’Novels’ Outside of the (Genre) Box. Using the affordances of comiclife for dynamic multimodal storytelling, memoir, and research/knowledge representation.

Applying multimodal literacies and aesthetic/genre techniques of graphic novels. Comiclife Demo (In class).

ComicLife: Free Download 

Production: Serious Comics’ & (Dual Language/ELL) Graphic Texts/Narratives

Reading Week  [February 18] No Classes Feb. 15-21 / Reading Week

Week 7 [February 25] Decolonizing Maps, ‘City Texts’ & the Curriculum
M-Learning & Re/Map Technologies & Digital Storytelling

1. Smith, B. (2014). Engaging Geography at Every Street Corner Using Place Names as Critical Heuristic in Social Studies. The Social Studies, 109 (2) 112–124.
2.  Krygier, J. & Wood, D. (2009). Critical Cartography in Toward unMaking Maps: A Guide to Experiments in Paracartography.
Take a glance: Toronto Poetry Map

Place-based critical inquiry and telling/mapping stories with Tourbuilder.

Production: Re/Map

Week 8  [March 3] Digital Storytelling and Creative Cultural Production in Refugee Camps
Class Meeting will be conducted from respective homes using Zoom

[Zooming in Classmates from DADAAB in Kenya] / Blended Learning Week

1. Sawhney, N. (2009). Voices Beyond Walls: The Role of Digital Storytelling for Empowering Marginalized Youth in Refugee Camps  IDC 2009, June 3–5, 2009, Como, Italy. (Short)
2. Negin Dahya (2017). Digital media and forced migration: Critical Media for and about Refugees (Short)

Follow up discussion and Q/A on the Forum

Week 9  [March 10] Inquiries into Narrative Inquiry (Video, Graphic Novels, Transmedia Storytelling)
Narrative Inquiry as Research / Narrative Inquiry as Pedagogy


1. Leggo, C. (2005). Narrative Inquiry: Honouring the Complexity of the Stories We Live, Brock Educational Journal, 14(1).
2. Adichie, N. C. (Youtube)  “The Danger of a Single Story”

Recursive Conections: Bui, Thi (2017). The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir. Genre: Graphic Memoir.

Week 10 [March 17]  Making Noise: Technology, Sound-Based Inquiry, and Inclusion 

Meeting/Workshop will take place at Re/Lab, with Q&A with Jason Nolan (Re/Lab Director)
(Downtown Toronto) Suite # N103, 483 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 2E1)

1. Thumlert, K. & Nolan, J. (2019). Angry Noise: Recomposing Music Pedagogies in Indisciplinary Modes In The International Handbook of Cultural Studies and Education Reader, Trifonas, P. (Ed.). New York & Berlin: Springer. In Press.
2. Matthews, C. (2019). Towards Disabled Artist-led Music Technology Online Article: Closely read first sections on ‘avoiding disability dongles’ and ‘inclusive design through direct involvement’ and then skim rest for models/examples).

Production: Sonic Inquiry: Recording Found Sounds and Creating Soundworks with DAWS.

Week 11 [March 24] Epidemic! Critical Multimodal Literacies and Game-Based Learning

Connecting course themes through a discussion of learning through Epidemic!

  • How might multimodal and interactive game-based learning support the uptake of, and application of, target knowledge domains while also providing contexts for deeper learning – and for critical literacies? What are the key arguments?
  • What are the implications for critical literacies, today, in light of Covid-19 and the promulgation of mis/dis-information (AND political propaganda) on the Internet, through social media platforms, etc? And how might you ‘mod’ this game – or activate productive and creational activities following ‘game play’ –  in light of our current Covid-19 situation to amplify opportunities for learning.
  • Recursion: Can you map relations between arguments and opportunities in Epidemic with other course readings (vis a vis critiques of standardized educational forms, or new paradigms for literacy and learning?

Jenson, J., de Castell, S., Thumlert, K. & Muehrer, R. (2016). Deep assessment: an exploratory study of game-based, multimodal learning in Epidemic. Digital Culture & Education, 8(1), 20-40.

Week 12 [March 31 ] Student Presentations / Adventure Project (work-in-progress)

  • Student Presentations.
  • What did you make? Why did you do it or make it? Why does it matter to you? What did you learn (technically & conceptually) through the research/inquiry and the making and design process? How did this production project connect to course themes and texts? Motion Towards (Future Applications)?

Final Project Due on/by April 5