A few months ago, a website started popping into my twitter feed. Scholars and colleagues I know and respect were linking to this website called Civics of Technology. And when I visited the site, I immediately understood why. The people behind the website were addressing issues and questions that are particularly relevant in today’s world and they were doing so in thoughtful and insightful ways. I have been following their work ever since, and have seen it grow and develop over time. And what they were doing seemed a great fit for Silver Lining for Learning. So I am extremely glad that Dan Krutka and Marie Heath (two of the people behind the project) have agreed to join us to tell us more about the project, its origin, where they are now and their future plans and ideas.
About Civics of Technology
The Civics of Technology (CoT) project aims to empower students and educators to critically inquire into the effects of technologies on their individual and collective lives. The team conducts research, develops curriculum, and offers professional development and through that seek to advance democratic, ethical, and just uses of technology in schools and society.
The Civics of Technology (CoT) project formally started in 2022 with the launch of their website and coordinated planning for research and curriculum development, but their roots extend further back. While humans have wrestled with their relationships to technology for centuries, the rapidly changing technological landscape of facial recognition, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and other pervasive technologies requires citizens who can address associated social problems. The CoT team of primarily social studies and educational technology educators and researchers seeks to develop approaches, curriculum, and research to help students grow as citizens in a highly technologized world.
While there are many movements encouraging teachers to integrate technology into their classrooms, and STEM/STEAM initiatives aimed at increasing students’ technological skills, there have been few initiatives or curriculum aimed at helping students to pursue a technology education that delves into the varied effects of technology through ecological and critical lenses. CoT therefore seeks to revive an older idea, largely lost to school curriculum dialogues, for technology education that challenges students to critically inquire into the collateral, disproportionate, and unexpected effects of technology on our lives. Across their projects, they work to advance a civics of technology in schools and society that struggles for just democracy. Some important links
- Civics of Technology Main Page
- Civics of Technology Conference
- Civics of Technology Book clubs
- Civics of Technology Curriculum
More about our guests below the video
About Dan Krutka
Dr. Krutka (he/him/his; Krut-kuh) is a human, probably too tethered to his smartphone, but human nonetheless. He grew up in Tahlequah and Tulsa, Oklahoma. A former high school social studies teacher in Oklahoma City, his paying job is as department chair and Associate Professor of Social Studies Education at the University of North Texas. He researches intersections of technology, democracy, and social studies education. He is the department chair at UNT, is co-editor for the Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education (CITE)—Social Studies journal, and hosts the Visions of Education podcast. In his teaching, he critically inquires alongside students for just, multiracial, and technoethical democracy. He is also a bit fanatic about the NBA (#ThunderUp) and Marvel (#TeamVision #WakandaForever). Learn more at his bio page on the Civics of Technology site.
About Marie Heath
Dr. Heath (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor of Educational Technology at Loyola University Maryland. Prior to her work in higher education, Dr. Heath taught high school social studies in Baltimore County Public Schools. Her teaching experiences influenced her research which focuses on the intersection of education, civic engagement, and technology in order to foster social change. Dr. Heath is the co-editor of the CITE Social Studies journal, chair of the Critical Theory in Teaching and Technology (CTTT) special interest group (SIG) for the Society for Information and Technology and Teacher Education (SITE), co-founder of the Civics of Technology project, and past chair of the Social Studies SIG for SITE. Dr. Heath is a Faculty Associate at the Center for Equity, Leadership, and Social Justice in Education.
A critical topic. We launched a major technology program in Milwaukee in 1976. A cornerstone of the introductory course was responsible use of technologies. That theme persisted in second and third level courses and was refreshed annually for over 20 years. My point: This is not a new concept, but an essential one. One that is often missed by program developers.