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Title: One Step at a Time: Deepening Socio-technical Learning in Undergraduate ICT Externships to Bridge the Digital Divide
This paper describes the temporal progression of human and social dimensions that undergraduate information and communications technology (ICT) students realized during an experiential learning externship where they explored digital divide technology solutions for low-income neighborhoods in the surrounding urban community. The described research represents significant adaptation and use of socio-technical integration research (STIR) with undergraduate ICT students engaged in work based experiential learning to promote equity in STEM education, instill a sense of civic responsibility, and practice approaches to tackling complex societal problems. Methods used for the research study included: STIR, semi-structured interviews, and on-site group observations. Using STIR, an embedded social scientist conducted regular one-on-one dialogs with three of four student externs, to collaboratively describe each student’s consideration of human and social dimensions as part of their technical work, explore alternative choices and their potential outcomes, and engage in reflexive learning that in some cases, influenced deliberate changes to material and behavioral practices. The on-site observation of group activities within the ICT innovation center situated in the local urban community provided additional ecosystem context during technical solution design and development of the digital divide solution for local high schools and feeder schools. Outcomes for participating undergraduate ICT students showed: 1) Technology learning improvements for all students; 2) Capacity building to reflect, anticipate and respond to socio-technical interactions for some students; and 3) Each student was able to progress to a new level of socio-technical learning and decision making. Reflexive discourse with participants surfaced cultural assets and consideration of alternative knowledges in collaborative technology design, development, and implementation that can potentially lead to solutions that are more community centered now and in the future as the ICT students transition to the workforce.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1953763
NSF-PAR ID:
10318371
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
International Conference on Internet Technologies & Society
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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