Tag Archives: digital natives

Digital practices and educating for change

Beccy Dresden
Senior TEL Designer
The Open University

DigPedLab Vancouver 2017 – Day 1

Beccy Dresden was funded to attend this event as a 2017 UCISA bursary winner

After lunch on Day 1 of DigPedLab (the catered food was probably the best I’ve ever had at any conference-type event, btw), we headed back into the classroom for more…

A ‘guest lecture’ from David White on the Visitors and Residents continuum gave me a chance to nurse my jetlag for a bit – not because it was boring, but because since experiencing a full V&R workshop delivered by David and Donna Lanclos in 2015, I’ve run several sessions on it myself at the OU. If you’re not familiar with V&R, https://www.youtube.com/ is a good place to start, but essentially it’s a counter to Prensky’s digital natives shtick.

As well as the maps, a couple of excellent questions were asked that I’ve never heard at any of the V&R sessions I’ve been involved in:

  • Is it about intention? Where do you put ‘accidental’ public actions, for example inadvertent sharing of Fitbit data?
  • Should ‘leaves no social trace’ be ‘leaves no public social trace’?

Bonnie wrapped up the first session by asking us to think about literacies and practices as currency, and consider:

  • What kinds of currency do you want?
  • Which forms of digital currency operate in your institutions?

Keynote: Rusul Alrubail

‘Educating for change: activism, organizing, and resisting through storytelling’

The final session of Day 1 was Rusul Alrubail’s keynote,which you can see for yourselves here (a 90-minute watch).

The following abstract describes Rusul’s session more eloquently than I can (emphasis added by me though):

“How do youth want to be supported by educators/adults in building and sustaining student movements? Social justice struggle grows from students’ own goals and feelings about their education, community and world. As educators it’s important that we provide the opportunity to cultivate and nurture student voice. The storyteller wields power in creating a story that allows the listener to empathize and understand and by doing so storytelling inadvertently becomes a mode to free ourselves from oppression. It is now more than ever a necessary time for us to focus on student activism and cultivate the necessary conditions for students to organize, and more importantly, to tell their stories for larger impact.”

Rusul covered an astonishing amount of ground and had most of the room in tears at some point after sharing her own experiences of emigration/immigration, followed by many examples of creative and inspiring student activism, such as:

  • #studentsnotsuspects – ‘schools should be like our second homes, not prisons’
  • Muslim Girls Making Change – a multicultural slam poetry activist group, founded because its members felt their voices were not heard in the classroom

She emphasised that it’s important as educators for us not to expect that students are willing or able to lose part of themselves to assimilate/conform to society’s norms, and talked about establishing a culture of connectivity – creating the right conditions for developing student voice, considering who’s listening in the classroom, and who’s speaking/who’s allowed to speak.

Rusul encouraged us to ‘connect globally with educators to disrupt the status quo’ and ‘shed light on injustice, even in our own communities – if we’re silent, we’re complicit’.

Her closing message? Focus on students!

And relax…

Day 1 ended with a bit of socialising – first a reception at Kwantlen, and then somehow I ended up being the one to find a local restaurant that could accommodate a whole bunch of us! The food and beer were good, but the best part was getting to chat with participants from the other tracks.

Huge thanks to UCISA for giving me the incredible opportunity of travelling to Vancouver and fulfilling my ambition to experience a DigPedLab Institute first hand – not just via Twitter.

In my next posts, I’ll cover Day 2. In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments, you’ll always find me at https://twitter.com/dresdeb

Interested in finding out more about a UCISA bursary, then visit UCISA Bursary Scheme.