Curriculum, Learning, & Justice: Engineering students' reasoning about socio-scientific issues
Date: 20 November, 2019
Time: 09:30 - 12:00
Venue: Main Building Lecture Room - G1
Coordinator: Centre Director's Office
Speaker: Dr. Ayush Gupta, Research Associate Professor, Department of Physics, University of Maryland (UMD)
Day & Date: Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Time: 9:30 AM
Venue: G1, Main Building
Note: Dr. Ayush Gupta will deliver the talk via videolink.
In this talk, I will present a broad overview of my research in STEM education at the intersection of discipline based education research and learning sciences, interleaving the design of curriculum and learning environments, fundamental research on learning, and the pursuit of social justice through education research and practice.
I will illustrate how these aspects are entangled in the context of a research project in which we designed focus group sessions to facilitate engineering students in discussing the ethics and ethical implications of socio-scientific issues such as autonomous vehicles, weaponized drones, big data, and technology transfer to developing countries. I will present analysis of audio-video data of students discussing a 2012 incident in which statisticians and engineers at a large departmental store,Target, developed predictive analytical software capable of identifying shoppers who were pregnant. We show how students' constructions of different stakeholders was relational, in that the ways in which pregnant women were conceptualized was entangled with how the corporation, Target, was conceptualized. And that these entangled constructions of the stakeholders were local, in that they varied over time with conversational context. Furthermore, these local constructions of the stakeholders constrained how the students were able to understand any of the stakeholders as causing harm or being harmed.
Towards the goal of educating socially responsible engineers who have a complex, nuanced understanding of how engineering can both benefit and harm society, our analysis points to the need for designing learning environments that facilitate students in thinking expansively about the distribution of power and resources in the world, and challenge their own assumptions about how science and technology interface with the social, political, and economic aspects of the world. I want to continue building a research and development program to address this need, where the design of ideologically expansive learning environments, research on students' reasoning about socio-scientific issues, and preparation of socially responsible engineers (or STEM graduates, more broadly) are entangled. Another aligned goal for future work is developing researcher-teacher partnerships for helping teachers develop facility with leading inquiry lessons around socio-scientific issues. I will discuss how my research agenda aligns with key initiatives at HBCSE towards exploring possible synergistic collaborations.
About the speaker:
From a scientific perspective, I am interested in gaining a better understanding of how the human mind operates and learns. From a social perspective I want to use this understanding to promote a more equitable education system and an overall scientific and rational way of thinking in society - awareness and education being the slow but steady path towards greater social justice without instability. (From his webpage: http://blog.umd.edu/ayushgupta/)