Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 2018 Issue »

    Ethics, Identity, and Political Vision

    Toward a Justice-Centered Approach to Equity in Computer Science Education


    In this essay, Sepehr Vakil argues that a more serious engagement with critical traditions in education research is necessary to achieve a justice-centered approach to equity in computer science (CS) education. With CS rapidly emerging as a distinct feature of K–12 public education in the United States, calls to expand CS education are often linked to equity and diversity concerns around expanding access to girls and historically underrepresented students of color. Yet, unlike other critical traditions in education research, equity-oriented CS research has largely failed to interrogate the sociopolitical context of CS education. To move toward a justice-centered approach to equity, Vakil argues, we must simultaneously attend to at least three features of CS education: the content of curriculum, the design of learning environments, and the politics and purposes of CS education reform. While there are many avenues of critical inquiry within and across each of these topics, the focus in this essay is on the role of ethics in the curriculum, the role of identity in CS learning environments, and the significance of a clear political vision for CS education.

    Click here to access this article. 

    Sepehr Vakil is an assistant professor of STEM education at the University of Texas at Austin, where he also serves as associate director of equity and inclusion for the Center of STEM Education. He completed his PhD in the Education in Mathematics, Science, and Technology (EMST) program at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2016 and a BS and MS in electrical engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2006 and 2007, respectively. His research centers around designing and studying learning environments (formal and informal) that create opportunities for youth to use the tools, knowledge, and practices of science and technology to build a more just and democratic society. In his recent work, Vakil draws on ethnographic and participatory design research methods to explore the interplay between ethical learning and political identity development within secondary and postsecondary computer science and engineering learning contexts. His work has been featured in the Journal of the Learning Sciences, Cognition and Instruction, Teachers College Record, and Equity & Excellence in Education.

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    Spring 2018 Issue


    Knowledge Citizens?
    Intellectual Disability and the Production of Social Meanings Within Educational Research
    Ethics, Identity, and Political Vision
    Toward a Justice-Centered Approach to Equity in Computer Science Education
    Risky Business
    An Integrated Institutional Theory for Understanding High-Risk Decision Making in Higher Education
    My Future, My Family, My Freedom
    Meanings of Schooling for Poor, Rural Chinese Youth
    Teaching in the Restorative Window
    Authenticity, Conviction, and Critical-Restorative Pedagogy in the Work of One Teacher-Leader

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