- Award ID(s):
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- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Proceedings of the 15th International Conference of the Learning Sciences—ICLS 2021
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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There is growing interest in how to better prepare K–12 students to work with data. In this article, we assert that these discussions of teaching and learning must attend to the human dimensions of data work. Specifically, we draw from several established lines of research to argue that practices involving the creation and manipulation of data are shaped by a combination of personal experiences, cultural tools and practices, and political concerns. We demonstrate through two examples how our proposed humanistic stance highlights ways that efforts to make data personally relevant for youth also necessarily implicate cultural and sociopolitical dimensions that affect the design and learning opportunities in data-rich learning environments. We offer an interdisciplinary framework based on literature from multiple bodies of educational research to inform design, teaching and research for more effective, responsible, and inclusive student learning experiences with and about data.more » « less
This research paper focuses on the effect of recent national events on first-year engineering students’ attitudes about their political identity, social welfare, perspectives of diversity, and approaches to social situations. Engineering classrooms and cultures often focus on mastery of content and technical expertise with little prioritization given to integrating social issues into engineering. This depoliticization (i.e., the removal of social issues) in engineering removes the importance of issues related to including diverse individuals in engineering, working in diverse teams, and developing cultural sensitivity. This study resulted from the shift in the national discourse, during the 2016 presidential election, around diversity and identities in and out of the academy. We were collecting interview data as a part of a larger study on students attitudes about diversity in teams. Because these national events could affect students’ perceptions of our research topic, we changed a portion of our interviews to discuss national events in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) classrooms and how students viewed these events in relation to engineering. We interviewed first-year undergraduate students (n = 12) who indicated large differences of attitudes towards diverse individuals, experiences with diverse team members, and/or residing at the intersection of multiple diversity markers. We asked participants during the Spring of 2017 to reflect on the personal impact of recent national events and how political discussions have or have not been integrated into their STEM classrooms. During interviews students were asked: 1) Have recent national events impacted you in any way? 2) Have national events been discussed in your STEM classes? 3) If so, what was discussed and how was it discussed? 4) Do these conversations have a place in STEM classes? 5) Are there events you wish were discussed that have not been? Inductive coding was used to analyze interviews and develop themes that were audited for quality by the author team. Two preliminary themes emerged from analysis: political awareness and future-self impact. Students expressed awareness of current political events at the local, national and global levels. They recognized personal and social impacts that these events imposed on close friends, family members, and society. However, students were unsure of how to interpret political dialogue as it relates to policy in engineering disciplines and practices. This uncertainty led students to question their future-selves or careers in engineering. As participants continued to discuss their uncertainty, they expressed a desire to make explicit connections between politics and STEM and their eventual careers in STEM. These findings suggest that depoliticization in the classroom results in engineering students having limited consciousness of how political issues are relevant to their field. This disconnect of political discourse in the classroom gives us a better understanding of how engineering students make sense of current national events in the face of depoliticization. By re-politicising STEM classrooms in a way relevant to students’ futures, educators can better utilize important dialogues to help students understand how their role as engineers influence society and how the experiences of society can influence their practice of engineering.more » « less
The culture within engineering colleges and departments has been historically quiet when considering social justice issues. Often the faculty in those departments are less concerned with social issues and are primarily focused on their disciplines and the concrete ways that they can make impacts academically and professionally in their respective arena’s. However, with the social climate of the United States shifting ever more towards a politically charged climate, and current events, particularly the protests against police brutality in recent years, faculty and students are constantly inundated with news of injustices happening in our society. The murder of George Floyd on May 25th 2020 sent shockwaves across the United States and the world. The video captured of his death shared across the globe brought everyone’s attention to the glaringly ugly problem of police brutality, paired with the COVID-19 pandemic, and US election year, the conditions were just right for a social activist movement to grow to a size that no one could ignore. Emmanuel Acho spoke out, motivated by injustices seen in the George Floyd murder, initially with podcasts and then by writing his book “Uncomfortable Converstations with a Black Man” . In his book he touched on various social justice issues such as: racial terminology (i.e., Black or African American), implicit biases, white privilege, cultural appropriation, stereotypes (e.g., the “angry black man”), racial slurs (particularly the n-word), systemic racism, the myth of reverse racism, the criminal justice system, the struggles faced by black families, interracial families, allyship, and anti-racism. Students and faculty at Anonymous University felt compelled to set aside the time to meet and discuss this book in depth through the video conferencing client Zoom. In these meetings diverse facilitators were tasked with bringing the topics discussed by Acho in his book into conversation and pushing attendees of these meetings to consider those topics critically and personally. In an effort to avoid tasking attendees with reading homework to be able to participate in these discussions, the discussed chapter of the audiobook version of Acho’s book was played at the beginning of each meeting. Each audiobook chapter lasted between fifteen and twenty minutes, after which forty to forty-five minutes were left in the hour-long meetings to discuss the content of the chapter in question. Efforts by students and faculty were made to examine how some of the teachings of the book could be implemented into their lives and at Anonymous University. For broader topics, they would relate the content back to their personal lives (e.g., raising their children to be anti-racist and their experiences with racism in American and international cultures). Each meeting was recorded for posterity in the event that those conversations would be used in a paper such as this. Each meeting had at least one facilitator whose main role was to provide discussion prompts based on the chapter and ensure that the meeting environment was safe and inclusive. Naturally, some chapters address topics that are highly personal to some participants, so it was vital that all participants felt comfortable and supported to share their thoughts and experiences. The facilitator would intervene if the conversation veered in an aggressive direction. For example, if a participant starts an argument with another participant in a non-constructive manner, e.g., arguing over the definition of ethnicity, then the facilitator will interrupt, clear the air to bring the group back to a common ground, and then continue the discussion. Otherwise, participants were allowed to steer the direction of the conversation as new avenues of discussion popped up. These meetings were recorded with the goal of returning to these conversations and analyzing the conversations between attendees. Grounded theory will be used to first assess the most prominent themes of discussion between attendees for each meeting . Attendees will be contacted to expressly ask their permission to have their words and thoughts used in this work, and upon agreement that data will begin to be processed. Select attendees will be asked to participate in focus group discussions, which will also be recorded via Zoom. These discussions will focus around the themes pulled from general discussion and will aim to dive deeper into the impact that this experience has had on them as either students or faculty members. A set of questions will be developed as prompts, but conversation is expected to evolve organically as these focus groups interact. These sessions will be scheduled for an hour, and a set of four focus groups with four participants are expected to participate for a total of sixteen total focus group participants. We hope to uncover how this experience changed the lives of the participants and present a model of how conversations such as this can promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and access activities amongst faculty and students outside of formal programs and strategic plans that are implemented at university, college, or departmental levels.more » « less
Data‐art inquiry is an arts‐integrated approach to data literacy learning that reflects the multidisciplinary nature of data literacy not often taught in school contexts. By layering critical reflection over conventional data inquiry processes, and by supporting creative expression about data, data‐art inquiry can support students' informal inference‐making by revealing the role of context in shaping the meaning of data, and encouraging consideration of the personal and social relevance of data. Data‐art inquiry additionally creates alternative entry points into data literacy by building on learners' non‐STEM interests. Supported by technology, it can provide accessible tools for students to reflect on and communicate about data in ways that can impact broader audiences. However, data‐art inquiry instruction faces many barriers to classroom implementation, particularly given the tendency for schools to structure learning with disciplinary silos, and to unequally prioritize mathematics and the arts. To explore the potential of data‐art inquiry in classroom contexts, we partnered with arts and mathematics teachers to co‐design and implement data‐art inquiry units. We implemented the units in four school contexts that differed in terms of the student population served, their curriculum priorities, and their technology infrastructure. We reflect on participant interviews, written reflections, and classroom data, to identify synergies and tensions between data literacy, technology, and the arts. Our findings highlight how contexts of implementation shape the possibilities and limitations for data‐art inquiry learning. To take full advantage of the potential for data‐art inquiry, curriculum design should account for and build on the opportunities and constraints of classroom contexts.
What is already known about this topic
Arts‐integrated instruction has underexplored potential for promoting students' data literacy, including their appreciation for the role of context and real‐world implications of data and for the personal and social relevance of data.
Arts‐integrated instruction is difficult to implement in school contexts that are constrained by disciplinary silos.
What this paper adds
Descriptions of four data‐art inquiry units, which take an arts‐integrated approach to data literacy.
Examples of the synergies and tensions observed between data literacy, technology, and the arts during classroom implementation in four different schools.
Reflections on the role of school contexts in shaping disciplinary synergies and tensions.
Implications for practice and/or policy
Arts‐integration offers opportunities for data literacy learning.
Consideration of the unique resources and constraints of classroom contexts is critical for fulfilling the promises of data‐art inquiry learning.
There is a need to develop school support specific to arts‐integrated data literacy instruction.
In March 2020, the global COVID-19 pandemic forced universities across the United States to immediately stop face-to-face activities and transition to virtual instruction. While this transition was not easy for anyone, the shift to online learning was especially difficult for STEM courses, particularly engineering, which has a strong practical/laboratory component. Additionally, underrepresented students (URMs) in engineering experienced a range of difficulties during this transition. The purpose of this paper is to highlight underrepresented engineering students’ experiences as a result of COVID-19. In particular, we aim to highlight stories shared by participants who indicated a desire to share their experience with their instructor. In order to better understand these experiences, research participants were asked to share a story, using the novel data collection platform SenseMaker, based on the following prompt: Imagine you are chatting with a friend or family member about the evolving COVID-19 crisis. Tell them about something you have experienced recently as an engineering student. Conducting a SenseMaker study involves four iterative steps: 1) Initiation is the process of designing signifiers, testing, and deploying the instrument; 2) Story Collection is the process of collecting data through narratives; 3) Sense-making is the process of exploring and analyzing patterns of the collection of narratives; and 4) Response is the process of amplifying positive stories and dampening negative stories to nudge the system to an adjacent possible (Van der Merwe et al. 2019). Unlike traditional surveys or other qualitative data collection methods, SenseMaker encourages participants to think more critically about the stories they share by inviting them to make sense of their story using a series of triads and dyads. After completing their narrative, participants were asked a series of triadic, dyadic, and sentiment-based multiple-choice questions (MCQ) relevant to their story. For one MCQ, in particular, participants were required to answer was “If you could do so without fear of judgment or retaliation, who would you share this story with?” and were given the following options: 1) Family 2) Instructor 3) Peers 4) Prefer not to answer 5) Other. A third of the participants indicated that they would share their story with their instructor. Therefore, we further explored this particular question. Additionally, this paper aims to highlight this subset of students whose primary motivation for their actions were based on Necessity. High-level qualitative findings from the data show that students valued Grit and Perseverance, recent experiences influenced their Sense of Purpose, and their decisions were majorly made based on Intuition. Chi-squared tests showed that there were not any significant differences between race and the desire to share with their instructor, however, there were significant differences when factoring in gender suggesting that gender has a large impact on the complexity of navigating school during this time. Lastly, ~50% of participants reported feeling negative or extremely negative about their experiences, ~30% reported feeling neutral, and ~20% reported feeling positive or extremely positive about their experiences. In the study, a total of 500 micro-narratives from underrepresented engineering students were collected from June – July 2020. Undergraduate and graduate students were recruited for participation through the researchers’ personal networks, social media, and through organizations like NSBE. Participants had the option to indicate who is able to read their stories 1) Everyone 2) Researchers Only, or 3) No one. This work presents qualitative stories of those who granted permission for everyone to read.more » « less