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Episode #89. Saturday January 15, 2022, 5:30 pm Eastern

As noted in an October 2021 article in EdSurge, the pandemic allowed many high school students in Colorado to self-direct their learning. Students were learning about cryptocurrency, investing in the stock market, different languages, the chemistry of hair dying, gardening, conducting research, how to cook, and much more. Through Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR), these young people were leading lives of inquiry, resourcefulness, and innovation. Fortunately, a research team at the University of Colorado Boulder facilitated and documented some of this silver lining for learning. In this episode of SLL, they will talk about the ingenuity and creativity that youth in their project showed when their schools shifted to online learning. From a thematic standpoint, they will focus in on “LEARNING” that happened during the pandemic and how that is different from “SCHOOLING” in their experiences. Second, they will question and challenge several assumptions that are embedded in the prevailing discourses of learning loss and social isolation associated with online learning. Throughout their show, they will express solidarity with teachers as they navigate the politics and health risks of this pandemic. More about our guests after the video



Ben Kirshner is a Professor of Learning Sciences and Human Development at the University of Colorado Boulder. His experiences working with young people at a community center in San Francisco’s Mission District motivated his research agenda about learning environments that support young people’s critical reflection and collective agency. In his current work with the Critical Civic Inquiry research group he develops research-practice partnerships that increase public schools’ capacity to support student voice and youth participatory action research through teacher professional learning, policy alignment, and student activism. With the Research Hub for Youth Organizing he co-designs educational tools and research studies with youth organizing groups and networks that build capacity for young people to claim power in the public sphere. Ben’s book, Youth Activism in an Era of Education Inequality (Amazon), received the social policy award for best authored book from the Society of Research on Adolescence. Recent courses he has taught include principles and practices of community-based research, leadership development, and youth activism and social movements. He can be contacted at


Beatriz Salazar (she/her/ella) is a doctoral student in the Learning Sciences and Human Development Department at the School of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder. Beatriz’s work explores the learning that stems from experiencing failure and the pieces of the environment that allow for learning to occur. In addition to her work in failure, Beatriz teaches for the Multicultural Leadership Scholars Programs and works with the Critical Civic Inquiry specifically seeking to better understand when and how adult decision makers utilize Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR). Prior to becoming a doctoral student, Beatriz served as an academic coach at the University of Colorado Boulder, and as the Life After Eagle Rock Instructional Specialist at Eagle Rock School in Estes Park, CO. She can be contacted at Beatriz.Salazar@Colorado.EDU.

Arturo Cortez is an assistant professor of Teacher Learning, Research and Practice, and Learning Sciences and Human Development at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he is also a fellow of the Institute of Cognitive Science. Broadly, Cortez explores the possibilities of co-designing for consequential learning in intergenerational and transdisciplinary learning environments that include educators, young people and multiple community members. More recently, he founded The Learning To Transform (LiTT) Video Gaming Lab to help build models for equity-centered educator and student learning through the design of deeper relationships between informal and formal educational environments. In addition, as a researcher at the NSF National AI Institute for Student-AI Teaming, Cortez is leading an effort to co-design, with educators and young people, curricula that explore the ethical and sociopolitical affordances and constraints of artificial intelligence in our everyday lives. He holds a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley. He can be contacted at


Dr. Carlos Hipolito-Delgado is a Professor in Counseling at the University of Colorado Denver. His research focuses on the sociopolitical development of students of color, the ethnic identity development of Chicanx and Latinx youth, and the internalization of racism. Carlos’ work also focuses on improving the cultural competence of education professionals—particularly school counselors. He has been co-PI on grants from the Spencer Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, KnowledgeWorks, and the American Educational Research Association—all focusing on the sociopolitical development and civic engagement of youth. Through this grant work Carlos has also been involved in developing assessments on the quality of youth civic performances and the impact of civics curriculum on academic engagement, civic engagement, and sociopolitical development. He has also published on the use of empowerment and sociopolitical development to foster academic engagement and promote educational reform for marginalized communities. Carlos is also past president of the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development and past chair of the American Counseling Association Foundation. He can be contacted at CARLOS.HIPOLITO@UCDENVER.EDU.