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Infrastructuring for Participatory Design: Supporting Student Agency in School Technology Use

  • Author(s): Lee, Ung-Sang Albert
  • Advisor(s): Gomez, Kimberley
  • et al.
Abstract

This dissertation examines how infrastructures for more agentic participation of students in the design and implementation of school technology practices were developed in a participatory design-based research-practice partnership (Bang & Vossoughi, 2016) between a university and high school students a university-affiliated community school. The four-year partnership, primarily between a group of high school students and I as the university researcher that aimed to position students as key stakeholders in the school’s design of technology practices led to a number of design outcomes, which included a site-specific school e-portfolio system (Lorenzo & Ittelson, 2005). This study, as a design ethnography (Barab et al., 2004) focuses on the relationships between the school e-portfolio system as a design outcome, the processes of building participatory design infrastructures (Le Dantec & DiSalvo, 2013) with high school students, and the characteristics of student participation and development in the context of the collaborative design processes. Results will show the ways in which existing school culture and practices provided a fertile ground for the participating students and I to co-construct a collaborative design infrastructure that was continuously refined and re-organized to address newly visible, context-specific needs in the design domain as well as the design processes. Students participating in these processes were increasingly positioned and viewed themselves as authoritative and agentic participants in the collaboration. In this context, a constellation of assets they brought to bear to the design processes and embodied in the design outcomes informed their engagement with the design processes, their critique and conceptualization of school technology practices, and further development of individual and organizational equity. While this study focuses on the processes of developing school technology practices and will have much to offer in this domain, especially for those looking to critically examine equity in the design of school technology practices, the findings speak to broader implications on how to construct context-specific processes that view students and local stakeholders from an asset perspective and conceptualize, design and implement educational practices based on local theories of equity.

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