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  1. 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. 
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  2. 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. 
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  3. Abstract

    Increased funding of nanotechnology research in the USA at the turn of the millennium was paired with a legislative commitment to and a novel societal research policy for the responsible development of nanotechnology. Innovative policy discourses at the time suggested that such work could engage a variety of publics, stakeholders, and researchers to enhance the capacity of research systems to adapt and be responsive to societal values and concerns. This article reviews one of two federally funded social science research centers—the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University(CNS-ASU)—to assess the merits of this form of engaged social science research in which social science contributes not only to traditional knowledge production but also to the capacity of natural science and engineering researchers and research communities for greater reflexivity and responsiveness, ultimately producing more socially robust research systems.

     
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