Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Dr Ruha Benjamin - Professor, Social Scientist and Activist

Set Phasers to Love Me - Reimagining the Default Settings of Technology & Society @ruha9

Inevitability.... stretch our imagination about what is realistic in terms of education and equity...

Asking for real time feedback...

Living in a time of social crisis... politics, health, education... we are in a time of a world at war with itself!
Care for one another, empathy, far away from where we are at.
How do we make our school laboratories of democratic participation!
Potential of each individual realised and experimenting with technologies of love, reciprocity and justice.

Our role is to incubate a better mind and heart in our students!

Teachers can change the direction of history!  It's not scientific and technological development, the revolutionary potential of an awakening citizenship that demands more of itself. 

Schools are places where the next generation comes alive, or is crushed by the wake. Children live in parallel realities, some succeed, some are crushed. We must address the inequality of access, we are doomed.  

Life long work. Are we ready to dig into the challenge?


  1. Imagine - scientific inquiry in realm of imagination as it is in scientific reasoning.  Imagine growing empathy in our institutions. Quality of relationships with one another - where are they when we are thinking about our social reality. Classrooms as laboratories for social change. Change - better for whom and by what measures? The importance of imagination must not be neglected. Whose version of the good life is being imagined and whose is being ignored? What an incredibly powerful question. There are competing imaginaries. "The battle over real power tomorrow begins with the struggle over who get to dream today." "The social and political milieu can foster or stifle innovation."
  2. Design - who gets to participate, by whom and to what ends? Develop a socio-techno literacy! Discriminatory design... at the heart is an attempt to create a technological fix for a social concern! Participatory design - who we imagine will benefit or get in the way are crucial for us to reflect on.  Whose voices are missing? Common understanding of what counts as technology is limiting.  Default settings - unspoken social codes of class, race and gender! We can't simply prepare students to succeed in the game of life as it is.  We have to succeed in new ways - code-switching! Social lubrication! Play the game of life! Not all codes were created equally - not all have the same power... Rather than force students turn off - the classroom can change to meet students 'where they are'. 
  3. Hacking - prepare students to play the game or hack the current system! Recreational competition and consumption.  We use but not created.  Where hacking is a mastery of collaboration and creativity. Let's not confine ourselves ever to our own needs and wants.  Courage, sacrifice, and purpose are demanded of us.  We must rewrite codes - not lean in and fit in - we must stretch out!!! Fairplay - violence, gender and race in video games. The line between virtual and physical has been completely blurred.  What people think and feel in real life is impacted by and impacts virtual worlds.  What we value, desire, fear and hate is shaped by our virtual experiences.  Devaluation in everyday life.... Colourblindness to issues ensures more of the same... Default setting that will be internalised... racist, genderist, sexist, 
  4. ALIFT - We must imagine and design alternatives.  We must collaborate - collective action!  Good intentions are not enough. Shining new version of same thing is not okay!!! Necessary to name to do and be better....
    • Ahistorical fallacy - project forward in time without reflection on time and history... we must look back to understand... passage of time does not does equal social passage.  Broken glass of previous generation may still cut us.  We must not presume we will move forward without struggle.  
    • Legalistic fallacy - social media is allowing us to rewrite code! Deep transformation of social and cultural norms. Schools are in a much better position to contribute to this necessary change. Educators are cultural workers... we either reproduce or empower students to create as it should be.
    • Individualistic fallacy - the world does not reflect individual good. We must not conform, how about those who currently have power don't force conformation.
    • Fixed fallacy - our aims should evolve.  Content and quality are vital for us to consider.  Push past, instil intellectual agility, need and crave purpose.
    • Tokenistic fallacy - avoid tokenism, offer opportunities for all to engage and empower.  The goal must be to empower learners to become masters of their own world.  
The clock is ticking.  Remain vigilant about the need to put structures in place for agency for all to engage and be empowered...
Children are our most precious treasure... in them are the promise of our future... They bear the seeds of the character of future society.  They are a trust no community can neglect with impunity.  They are our future.  they belong in the community and share in its purpose.... 

WOW - loving technologies...... 

Let's recommit to turning it on often in service to humanity....

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