By Amy Ratelle on Nov 24th, 2016
Matt Ratto spoke at the Cybera Cyber Summit, which was held at the Banff Centre on October 26-28, 2016. His talk, abstract below, was titled "Technology, education, and democracy."
The summit featured speakers and experts from higher education, government and the private sector. 2016's summit theme was Using Technology Responsibly.
What are the opportunities and the challenges offered by emerging modes of technologically-inflected communication and decision-making? What is our role and responsibility as educators and as developers of research and teaching digital infrastructures? What do students need in the 21st century? As education institutions and providers struggle to respond to the first two questions, are we abrogating our responsibility to the last?
In this talk, I will describe some of the opportunities and the challenges we currently face, laying out a model of action for how to potentially address the questions raised above. Core to my thinking are two related points; first that we must help students develop a greater sense of how the informational world and its attendant infrastructures helps shape how and what we think, and second, that a good way to do this is to give students the space to engage in reflexive acts of technological production – what I have termed ‘critical making.’ I will provide concrete examples from both my research and my teaching that demonstrate the value and importance of reflexive, hands-on work with digital technologies in helping students develop the critical digital literacy skills they need to function in today’s society.