We are at a phase where we can advance processes of inquiry and design that substantively address culture and diversity by building capacity across the networks of scholars with expertise in how these issues take shape within learning sciences and cyberlearning. This project will organize two small conferences that bring together an intergenerational group of learning and technology scholars to collectively articulate the theoretical perspectives needed to frame, study, and respond to persistently-produced inequity.
Over the last two decades, learning scientists concerned with equity have developed strands of research that treat learning as a fundamentally cultural process situated within wider social, political and economic constraints. This project aims to: 1) collectively identify and name the power relations and cultural perspectives essential for rigorous, equity-oriented research, including the central tensions and debates therein; 2) clearly articulate how these perspectives substantively influence the design and study of new technologies and learning environments; 3) strategize to establish these conceptual tools within Cyberlearning and the Learning Sciences; and 4) map a research agenda for theorizing the design and study of new technological genres and learning arrangements. This project will also help to articulate criteria that can be used to advance the rigor of equity-oriented cyberlearning research. We will disseminate deliverables that are conceptual (theoretical tools), methodological (research designs and approaches), pedagogical (developing robust tools and designs for formal and informal educational environments, developing spaces to mentor the next generation of scholars), and professional (a network of scholars poised to intervene and take leadership roles in the field). Educational equity requires expanding the influence of socio-cultural approaches and bringing them into the foreground of cyberlearning.