Etec521: Indigeneity, Technology, and Education

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Identification

The problem of underrepresentation is a pressing concern in all computing disciplines. This problem indeed has cultural underpinnings and connections to historical patterns of marginalization and social injustice. I focused throughout the journey Etec521 on the research work incorporating Indigenous cultural perspectives in computing. My final paper, “Broadening Indigenous Youth Participation in Computing Education,” allowed me to find some answers to the following questions:

Inquiry Questions in Etec521 project
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Conceptual Design

 Critical conversations about these the intersections between computing and cultures have proliferated in emerging fields such as ethnocomputing and culturally responsive computing (CRC). These fields are attempting to move the needle toward equity in computing by considering the many forms of cultural wealth that underrepresented populations bring to the computing process (Tedre, Sutinen, Kahkonen & Kommers, 2006; Eglash, Gilbert & Foster, 2013). In conjunction with these movements, there has been a shift from thinking about computational platforms from tools that support computational thinking to tools that support computational participation and critical inquiry (Litts et al., 2020).

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Implementation

Broadening Indigenous Youth Participation in Computing Education : Goals [2, 3 & 4] Hover here Goal [2] To apply knowledge and skills to create educational resources aimed at broadening interest in computer science education.

Goal [3] To further develop a critical perspective in order to evaluate and draw conclusions about technology developments.

Goal [4] To further develop a holistic view about technology.

To address the three given inquiries, I conducted an informal narrative research review about a new set of possibilities for developing translations between computing and Indigenous concepts. This artifact demonstrates my willingness to engage and participate and go beyond the cliché box of technological neutrality. Also, it represents a significant growth in approaching the critical computing approach where I am attending to the intersections between culture and computing.

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Evaluation

I came to Etec521 with a “null” background, as we say in our programming languages about Indigenous knowledge systems and cultures. However, I was charged with the desire to further my holistic perspective about technology use and expand my interaction with critical computing after my Etec540 and Etec565b experiences. The presented artifact was probably was the most challenging task in the entire MET journey for several reasons:

My big learning moments in Etec521

During Etec521, I was involved in a more enhanced critique of several core assumptions and premises. This has dramatically shaped my philosophy and core values about educational technology. More than any other point in my life, I was affected by how our design models perpetuate logics of underrepresentation. The implicit, if not explicit, message sent to young Indigenous people and other minority groups is that in order to deeply connect with computing, they must seek outside their identities, communities, languages, and cultures (Litts et al., 2020). As a result, I have a strong urge to act based on this new perspective and promote technologists’ awareness in larger computing settings. By doing so, I may also help to challenge hegemonic assumptions about the relationships between culture and computing. 

We must protect against technology development creating new dependencies and inequalities, not only in terms of the digital divide - put simply the haves and have-nots of certain technologies - but also the more nuanced issue of digital colonialism" (Minority Rights Group International, 2020, p.35)

 I hope you join in reconceptualizing broadening participation in CS by moving towards an alternative to the deficit framing of young minorities and their communities. As Lachney et al. (2021) stated, it [would] “take a village to develop and implement equity-oriented CS education” and change forms of oppression (e.g., racism and colonialism) existing in our backend systems and designs.