Digital Media and Learning Conference 2015 Equity By Design
Los Angeles, California
June 11-13, 2015
Call for proposals accepting applications:

Monday, September 29, 2014 – Monday, December 1, 2014

Conference Chair:
Kris Gutierrez

Conference Committee:
Samuel Dyson
Glynda Hull
Ernest Morrell
Audrey Watters

This conference reframes the debate over equity and educational technology, moving us from access to tools toward new practices and forms of engagement, narratives, social supports, and networks. We will examine issues of equity, nationally and globally, across economically developing and developed countries, and a range of settings and purposes in which rich, meaningful, and relevant learning and engagement are re-imagined. We hope to dedicate special attention to the ingenuity and creativity that already exist in the everyday practices of groups often thought to be marginal to technology innovation and learning, including women and girls, nondominant families and communities in the U.S., and outside stereotypically high-tech regions. In addition to showcasing the most current research, the conference will engage participants in discussions, demonstrations, performances, screenings, and designs that promote equity and address inequity. We also will draw on grassroot, community, and activist efforts to use digital media in productive and empowering ways, and on new research and classroom practices designed to create a new pedagogical imagination about the ways tech tools can be used, repurposed, and redesigned in the service of robust and equitable practices.

Social inequity and increasing economic stratification limit opportunities to engage in rich, meaningful, and relevant learning. Attempts to address educational inequity, limited opportunity, or perceived “deficiencies” — particularly for historically marginalized populations — often focus primarily on promoting access to educational institutions and pathways. In the domain of digital media, the focus has traditionally been on technology access framed in terms of a digital divide. Too often, these approaches fail to fully appreciate the local capacities, social networks, and cultural repertoires of nondominant groups. Further, by framing the problem as a question of access to dominant institutions, technology, and culture, we run the risk of deflecting attention from the underlying economic and social structuring of inequity.

This conference seeks to engage the following questions: How do new technologies and networks offer solutions or exacerbate inequity? How are different genres of engagement with technology intersecting with enduring forms of economic, cultural, and social stratification? How do we need to adapt public policy and educational practice to respond to the new challenges of promoting equity, given the ascendance of networked and informal modes of learning? In what ways can equity become part of the logic of design, implementation, and assessment? How can we build more expansive discourses and representations of young people’s full cultural repertoires and digital media’s role in shaping new practices and opportunities? What leading-edge design grammars or structures are needed to imagine new social futures for today’s youth, locally and globally?

Find out more information on the call for proposals at