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Keynote Speaker Ruha Benjamin

Classrooms as Labs for Social Change: Reimagining the Default Settings of Education

Schools are a microcosm of society. They are places that can foster connection and participation or enforce rigid boundaries and inequity. Technology, in turn, can be designed and employed to support liberatory or oppressive projects. And without careful consideration of the social dimensions of innovation, we risk reinforcing long-standing forms of injustice, and even producing new forms of discrimination that are hidden behind a veneer of tech neutrality. In this presentation, Ruha will examine a range of contemporary issues at the nexus of data and democracy so that we can think together about the social values embedded in these platforms and systems. The aim of this talk is to expand our collective imagination around what counts as relevant and meaningful to discussions about educational technology and to provide educators with tools to create learning environments that can transform our world, one classroom at a time.


About the Keynote Speaker

Ruha Benjamin is a professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and the author of People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier and the forthcoming Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code. She has studied the social dimensions of science, technology, and medicine for over 15 years and speaks widely on issues of innovation, equity, health, and justice. Ruha is the recipient of the 2017 President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from UC Berkeley and completed postdoctoral fellowships at UCLA’s Institute for Genetics and Society and Harvard University’s Science, Technology, and Society Program.

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