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A 12-year journey from traditional service learning to community inquiry

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Title: A 12-year journey from traditional service learning to community inquiry
Author(s): Martin Wolske
Subject(s): service learning scholarship of engagement community inquiry participatory action research Prairienet ESLARP Community Informatics
Abstract: Just as people with hammers tend to see all problems as nails, teaching computer skills can undermine human interactions. A 2007 UNESCO report discusses the ethical implications of emerging technologies. When education about, and application of, the nuts and bolts of technology are divorced from a clear understanding of how technology and society interact, existing social structures are often reinforced. My 12-year journey teaching Library and Information Science service-learning course “Introduction to Networked Systems” has led to open-ended approaches to technology design and implementation that value the relationships among learners more than the computers and tools they are learning to use. Borrowing from Susan Noffke’s 2009 article about educational action research, this presentation will consider the professional, personal, and political aspects of applying engaged scholarship in library and information science. The paper uses personal reflections, results from two doctoral dissertations, as well as direct feedback from students to consider better ways to focus on people instead of things in our engaged scholarship related to the application of technology within society. From my start as a practitioner teaching an introductory technology course for pre-professionals, my journey of progressive discovery through praxis has highlighted a number of take-home lessons, including: • More authentic engagement happens when the different theories and praxis of researchers, students, and community are treated as resources; • A participatory, asset-based approach to technology implementation in community provides a necessary critical assessment of IT; • Equal exchange of knowledge and the intentional, participatory design of technology and its implementation is foundational if we are to effectively support inclusive initiatives for more just communities.
Issue Date: 2012-11-07
Citation Info: Prato CIRN Community Informatics Conference 2012, 6-9 November 2012, Monash Centre, Prato, Italy
Genre: Conference Paper / Presentation
Type: Text
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/35070
Publication Status: published or submitted for publication
Peer Reviewed: is peer reviewed
Date Available in IDEALS: 2012-11-06
 

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