Kvasny to give social justice perspective on technology during lecture

Lynette Kvasny, an associate professor at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) seeks to raise students’ consciousness of both the opportunities and problems that arise from the world’s growing reliance on information and communication technology (ICT). She will discuss the social justice perspective she brings to the study of ICT and society during a lecture that she will give at the end of September.

Kvasny will present the second annual George McMurtry Lecture at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, in 208 IST Building.

“Social justice education has the potential to prepare students to become something more than technologists who are able to effectively design, implement and manage information systems,” Kvasny said. “They are becoming people who are sophisticated in their understanding of social interactions amongst diverse groups, and are able to critique current technology arrangements and envision new possibilities for ICT and society.”

Kvasny is the 2012-13 recipient of the George J. McMurtry Excellence in Teaching and Learning Faculty Enhancement Fund. The fund recognizes IST faculty members at University Park who provide an exceptional learning environment for undergraduates in the classroom or online environments through their innovative teaching, commitment to student learning and creative interface with students.

Kvasny received her doctorate in computer information systems from the Robinson College of Business. Her research focuses on how and why historically underserved groups appropriate information and communication technologies.

Citing a study by Adams, Bell and Griffin (1997), Kvasny said that social justice education “utilizes experiential pedagogical principles that help students to understand power relations expressed in oppressive systems that incite feelings of marginalization, exploitation of labor, threats of violence, cultural imperialism and feelings of powerlessness.”

“As students apply these themes to familiar ICTs and their digital culture, they become conscious of their operating worldview and are able to examine alternative ways of understanding the world and social relations,” she said.

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Last Updated September 12, 2013