Culturally Responsive Computing

While much has been written about Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (CRP) and Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT), not very much has been written about Culturally Responsive Computing (CRC). It is important to note that CRC grows out of CRP and CRT, and shares the same concerns and goals: inclusive dialogical work, liberation philosophy, and an increase in levels of achievement for historically disenfranchised students. (Gay, 2012)

Kimberly Scott has made significant contributions to the literature about CRC, even though it is still a burgeoning field. Scott builds on the work done by a number of writers who approach this problem from a critical theory perspective. Additionally, there are a number of writers who specifically focus on issues found in the intersections of education and computing or technology. Seymour Papert and Andrew Feenberg are major contributors in the discussion of computers and schools. Their work demonstrates the historicity, even though there are more computers in schools now than ever. Additionally, their conclusions point to the need to keep feeding the innovations possible when approaching computing in education, and this directly links to the spirit and purpose of critical theory. They both urge us to create environments where students can learn by doing with computers, rather than placed in front of a computer terminal to receive information through software. The few writers on this topic seem to all agree that traditionally and artificially fragmented content areas need to be integrated once again, that students and teachers and schools need to engage in and support an emancipatory dialogical practice of critical inquiry, and that experimentation and innovation need to be encouraged and nurtured as a regular active and reflective practice. Further, the authors all agree that social justice is an achievable goal, albeit a difficult one, and through our combined efforts to develop a culturally responsive model in all areas of school life, we can bravely join in the critical inquiry dialogue that Paulo Freire has inspired us to do.

Seymour Papert’s theory called constructionism frames and inspires the work of this study and project proposal. The theory builds on the work of John Dewey, Maria Montessori, Jean Piaget, Jerome Bruner, Lev Vygotsky, and Paulo Freire. Constructionism is opposite of instructionism and intends to place the learner “in the position of designer/producer rather than consumer” (Harel & Papert, 1990) and this serves as an essential core element of what STEAMHAMLET intends to purposefully create. Instructionism is easily understood as a traditional school model, which leads to “banking education” (Freire 1970) and that approach is what this study and project wish to actively disembowel.

Bryan Sanders
English Teacher & Creative EdTech Collaborator
I am a National Board Certified Teacher in the high school English classroom, which I see as an open space to integrate all content areas. I am not a ‘test answers at the back of the book’ teacher. I work to engage in authentic dialogue and inquiry with students about texts, and I help them to develop critical and questioning minds. I have 20 years of experience teaching and plan to continue.

Technology and the arts have a central place in my classroom and approach. Microsoft selected me as a 2018 Global Minecraft Mentor. I create a space for students to work with (not at) computers to create meaningful, well-written content that is also aesthetically pleasing and artistically cohesive. I believe that we have not yet fully harnessed the power and potential of computers. To this end, I have embarked upon my doctoral degree in Educational Leadership for Social Justice with a focus on Educational Technology.

You can count me among the innovators, the intellectuals, and the seekers. I work for social justice through education. I am currently researching and developing educational-use software to disrupt traditional K20 schooling practices.