Harvard Educational Review
  1. Summer 2016 Issue »

    Making Through the Lens of Culture and Power

    Toward Transformative Visions for Educational Equity

    SHIRIN VOSSOUGHI, PAULA K. HOOPER, and MEG ESCUDÉ
    In this essay, Shirin Vossoughi, Paula Hooper, and Meg Escudé advance a critique of branded, culturally normative definitions of making and caution against their uncritical adoption into the educational sphere. The authors argue that the ways making and equity are conceptualized can either restrict or expand the possibility that the growing maker movement will contribute to intellectually generative and liberatory educational experiences for working-class students and students of color. After reviewing various perspectives on making as educative practice, they present a framework that treats the following principles as starting points for equity-oriented research and design: critical analyses of educational injustice; historicized approaches to making as cross-cultural activity; explicit attention to pedagogical philosophies and practices; and ongoing inquiry into the sociopolitical values and purposes of making. These principles are grounded in their own research and teaching in the Tinkering Afterschool Program as well as in the insights and questions raised by critical voices both inside and outside the maker movement.

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    Shirin Vossoughi is an assistant professor at Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy, where she draws on ethnographic methods to study the social, cultural, historical, and political dimensions of learning and educational equity. As an Iranian immigrant and the daughter of political exiles, she is invested in the creative development of educational settings for youth from migrant, immigrant, and diasporic backgrounds. Building on her work as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University and at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, Vossoughi partners with Meg Escudé and Paula Hooper to study afterschool tinkering programs that blend scientific inquiry, literacy, and the arts. She takes a collaborative approach to research, partnering with teachers and students to study the conditions that foster educational dignity and possibility.

    Paula K. Hooper is an assistant professor of instruction at Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy. She worked as a senior science educator and learning scientist at the Exploratorium from 2008 to 2015. At the Exploratorium, she designed and implemented inquiry-oriented science professional learning experiences for K–8 teachers, administrators, and museum educators, with a focus on classroom discourse practices that support all learners’ engagement in scientific sense making. Her experiences as an African American educator have influenced her commitment to research and teaching that addresses issues of equity and inclusion through building an approach to inquiry that is informed by constructionism and the use of programmable tools for making. Her work with Shirin Vossoughi and Meg Escudé identifies the emergence of math and science ideas within makerspaces that are designed for equity. She served from 2012 to 2015 as a member of the National Research Council Committee on Strengthening Science Education through a Teacher Learning Continuum.

    Meg Escudé is the director of Community Youth Programs at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, where she serves as the program director and collaborative educator in the Tinkering Afterschool Program and XTech Middle School program as well as in professional development projects for afterschool educators. She works to design liberatory learning experiences for youth at the intersection of art and STEM. She has collaborated with Shirin Vossoughi and Paula Hooper on a unique research+practice partnership that greatly informs her development of equity-driven pedagogical practices. Prior to her work at the Exploratorium, Escudé moved to her father’s native Argentina in 2004. While traveling from Patagonia to Brazil with the circus, she completed a photographic essay about that nomadic community. She strives to create educational settings that honor the diverse ways in which children and youth express their brilliance.
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    Summer 2016 Issue

    Abstracts

    Changing the Place of Teacher Education
    Feminism, Fear, and Pedagogical Paradoxes
    STEPHANIE JONES and HILARY E. HUGHES
    “Get an Education in Case He Leaves You”
    Consejos for Mexican American Women PhDs
    MICHELLE M. ESPINO
    Making Through the Lens of Culture and Power
    Toward Transformative Visions for Educational Equity
    SHIRIN VOSSOUGHI, PAULA K. HOOPER, and MEG ESCUDÉ
    The Formation of Community-Engaged Scholars
    A Collaborative Approach to Doctoral Training in Education Research
    MARK R. WARREN, SOOJIN OH PARK, and MARA CASEY TIEKEN
    The Dilemma of Care
    A Theory and Praxis of Citizenship-Based Care for China’s Rural Migrant Youth
    LISA YIU
    Editor's Review
    SHAUNA BROWN LEUNG

    Book Notes