Teaching Assistant Professor Martin Wolske will present his work at the 17th annual Community Informatics Research Network (CIRN) Conference, which will be held on November 6-8 in Prato, Italy. The theme of this year's conference is "Whose Agenda: Action, Research, & Politics." Wolske also serves on the 2019 conference committee.
In his talk, "Networked, Information, and Systems as Generative Words: A Freirean Critical Pedagogy Template," Wolske will discuss a teaching template based on his 25 years of teaching Introduction to Network Information Systems (IS 451). For much of the time Wolske taught the course, he included a participatory action research service-learning component that sought to address the digital divide while supporting hands-on sociotechnical skills development of students and community members. According to Wolske, after case studies and follow-up research with alumni in the field showed him that something wasn’t working with this approach, he restarted the course without the community engagement element.
From the abstract: Extended research on this course has identified key limits in the essential advancement of critical student values development related to the deeper sociocultural agendas interconnected with digital technologies and the Internet. Unless primed, students often remain centered on problematic political agendas revolving around hyper-individualism, neoliberal capitalism, and technological utopianism. This paper introduces a new teaching template, sans the service-learning component, in which the teacher-student uses "networked," "information," and "systems" as generative words, and carefully selected hands-on exercises and digital counter-storytelling as codifications and situation-problems. Through text/context analysis, small group discussions and professional journal reflections, and hands-on activities as innovators-in-use of microcontrollers and computers, student-teachers work to identify and decode these situation-problems.
Wolske joined the iSchool in 1995 and has served in many key roles, including interim director of the Center for Digital Inclusion (CDI) and director of Prairienet, Champaign-Urbana's first community network and the predecessor to CDI. Since the late 1990s, he has taught networking, information systems, and community informatics and engagement courses, for which he received the 2011 Library Journal Teaching Award. Wolske has been principal investigator or co-principal investigator on a number of grants related to digital inclusion and digital literacy that have received funding through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the American Library Association, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, among other agencies.
Wolske will present "Networked, Information, and Systems as Generative Words: A Freirean Critical Pedagogy Template" at the 2019 iSchool Research Showcase on October 30.