Designing Socio-technical Systems for Learning in the Third Place
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Oldenberg (1989) characterizes Third Places as the gathering places outside of home, work, and school where informal public life (e.g., friendship, laughter, light-heartedness, civic participation) develop dynamically. Indeed informal learning research has shown these spaces to be fruitful settings for learning. Yet, less is known about how socio-technical systems can be designed to integrate deeply into such hyper local environments and support community-based learning. In this talk, I will consider this question in the context of two research projects. First, in Science Everywhere, with colleagues, I have spent over six years designing, developing and situating a social media app, large community displays, and life-relevant science learning experiences for youth in two urban, low-SES neighborhood settings. From this project, I will highlight case studies of child and adult community members that illuminate the role of the Science Everywhere socio-technical system for influencing science disposition shifts in communities. Second, in the Data Everyday project, my research team is seeking to understand the opportunities for data literacy development within NCAA Division I sports. Drawing on an interview study with Division I athletes and athletics staff members across sports, I will highlight key tensions that reveal opportunities and challenges for designing socio-technical systems for data literacy development in elite athletics. Looking across these studies, I will then discuss guidelines for designing socio-technical systems that are deeply embedded in communities to engage a wide range of community members in sustained learning endeavors.