A Pedagogy for the Digital Age

More and more learning integrates a digital component. Some classes are fully online but even those that are not often incorporate a class website, a forum or a similar tool. People from all walks of life can engage in self-directed learning via MOOCs and other digital offerings. Meanwhile, more and more classes are equipped with cameras, microphones and student computers that network with one another. Artificial intelligence, too, is increasingly integrated into learning. Students can find their work graded or their questions answered with the help of artificial intelligence. There’s no doubt that these tools present a wide range of opportunities for teachers and students, but they also come with challenges and pitfalls. Digital tools can be used to empower teachers or students, or they may be used to control and surveil—creating conditions that we know aren’t conducive to best kinds of learning even if they appear to work in the short run. As teachers, how do we avoid turning our classrooms into little panopticons that communicate mistrust? How do we envision a pedagogy based on trust and empowerment that incorporates all that these new technologies can offer, rather than the low-road? This talk will outline some of the opportunities and pitfalls that confront us, and outline some considerations for a healthy digital pedagogy for the digital age.

Zeynep Tufekci is an associate professor at the University of North Carolina, author of Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest from Yale University Press and an opinion writer at the New York Times and a current writer for The Atlantic and past columnist with Scientific American and Wired. Her research revolves around the interaction between society and technology with special focus on how big data, algorithms and artificial intelligence  are affecting social and political structures.