Equity in Digital Literacies: Access, Ethics and Engagement

These keynotes, which are part of a two-day closed conference, will be open to the public during the times indicated below.

Equity in Digital Literacies: Access, Ethics and Engagement*

May 24th and 25th, 2016
Ballroom of the Education Centre at Ponderosa Commons,
University of British Columbia

*Funded by SSHRC, UBC SPARC, the Department of Language and Literacy Education, and LLED’s Digital Literacy Centre. Organized by Theresa Rogers, Jim Anderson, Ron Darvin (UBC) and Suzanne Smythe (SFU)

Public Keynote Sessions

May 24

| 09:00 – 10:00 |
John Willinsky: A Digital Pedagogy of Civic literacy and Civil Rights

| 13:30 – 14:30 |
Eva Lam: The Social (Re)construction of Scale in Video Documentary: Exploring Youths’ and Practitioners’ work

May 25

| 09:00 – 10:00 |
Anabel Quan-Haase: What is the Social and Economic Cost of the Digital Divide in Canada? Access, Digital Literacy and Educational Attainment

| 13:30 – 14:30 |
Allan Luke: Literacies and Education: Forward and Back after Neoliberalism, ‘Globalism’ and Backlash

May 24 | 09:00 – 10:00

A Digital Pedagogy of Civic Literacy and Civil Rights

John Willinsky

Stanford University and Simon Fraser University;
Affiliate Professor, University of British Columbia

A wide range of online activities today speak to the opportunities and responsibilities of a civic literacy, involving civil rights and responsibilities that have not typically been part of literacy and language instruction. This talk reviews four relevant scenes of such literacy in the exercise of intellectual property rights, knowledge creation, online journalism, and public science. It invites the audience to consider what can be and needs to be taught in both preparing for and engaging students in these four domains of the public sphere. Amid the online threats of trolling, bullying, and, well, enough said, it still falls to the schools to look for ways of realizing its original promise of raising the educational quality of democratic life within just such public domains.

John Willinsky has written extensively about the educational implications of such knowledge systems as literary theory, historical dictionaries, and European imperialism. More recently he has focused on both analyzing and altering scholarly publishing practices to understand whether this body of knowledge might yet become more of a public resource for learning and deliberation.

May 24 | 13:30 – 14:30

The Social (Re)construction of Scale in Video Documentary: Exploring Youths’ and Practitioners’ work

Eva Lam

Northwestern University

Drawing from a study of video documentary making in a high school with students from immigrant families and interviews with media practitioners, Dr. Lam will discuss how the representational or discursive practices of “scaling” in social-issue documentaries afford the potential for re-constructing our understanding of the relationship between different socially stratified spaces. Her study of social documentary explores how particular spatiotemporal scopes of experiences and practices are represented and made visible through the voices of particular characters and how the voices of different characters and institutional actors are juxtaposed or linked to each other to constitute particular relations between them. She is interested in how the boundaries among different socially stratified spaces and the language practices associated with these spaces are strategically exposed and rejigged or reordered in documentary storytelling.

Eva Lam is an associate professor Northwestern University in Learning Sciences and Asian American Studies. She studies the social contexts of language use and learning, new literacies, language varieties, and socialization practices in new media environments. Her work draws from sociocultural theories of literacy and language learning, media and communication studies, and the sociology of migration to investigate how young people, especially youth migrants and children of immigrants, engage in new forms of multilingual and multimodal learning and identity formation with digital and transnational media.

May 25 | 09:00 – 10:00

What is the Social and Economic Cost of the Digital Divide in Canada? Access, Digital Literacy and Educational Attainment

Anabel Quan-Haase

University of Western Ontario

A central aspect of inequality in the twenty-first century is the digital divide, the systematic differences that exist between social groups in access to and use of information and communication technologies. Canada faces several unique challenges in overcoming the digital divide including immigration, cultural diversity, aging, and geography. The recent move toward mobile devices such as smartphones, phablets, and smartwatches has created new concerns and inequalities, whilst also providing new opportunities for those lagging behind. The present talk has three goals. First, it will provide an overview of the current state of the Canadian digital landscape. Second, the talk will discuss the digital literacy paradox, a new model for understanding how digital experience and exploration are linked to the development of digital literacy, which highlights how learning is a social process and thus digital literacy is best acquired in social settings where family, peers, mentors, and gatekeepers come together to provide an environment for exploration. Finally, the talk draws implications for the educational system focusing specifically on digital literacy as an everyday practice embedded in daily routines, the digital humanities as a new frontier for educational attainment, and the lack of ‘tech’ role models in a celebrity-driven attention economy.

Anabel Quan-Haase is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Information and Media Studies and the Department of Sociology, the University of Western Ontario. Currently, she is the director of the SocioDigital Lab at Western. Her current interests also lie in how electronic resources are changing the nature of scholarship, innovation, and creativity. She currently holds a SSHRC Insight Grant to study serendipity and digital environments in the humanities, and a SSHRC Insight Development Grant to study digital divides in the senior population.

May 25 | 13:30-14:30

Literacies and Education: Forward and Back after Neoliberalism, ‘Globalism’ and Backlash

Allan Luke

Queensland University of Technology (Emeritus)
University of Calgary
Affiliate Professor, University of British Columbia

This talk will serve as a response to and dialogue with the conference presentations and discussions, commenting on possible future scenarios and challenges for multiliteracies and literacy education as fields of educational development, local intervention and political activism.

Allan Luke is Emeritus Professor, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. His last major work was as author and chair of Australia’s most comprehensive empirical study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education in 2013. He began his work as a teacher at Semiahmoo Secondary School in White Rock in 1974 and completed his teacher training and doctoral studies at Simon Fraser University. He currently is a working musician in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.