CFP: Minimal Computing and Ed Tech: Special Issue of Learning, Media and Technology

The Journal Learning, Media and Technology invites submissions for a special issue on “Minimal Computing and Ed Tech,” edited by Lee Skallerup Bessette (Georgetown University) and Roopika Risam (Dartmouth College). As minimal computing continues to gain traction as more sustainable and equitable approaches, digital humanities library practitioners offer unique and important perspectives to critical digital project infrastructures and data pedagogy. From the call:

Digital humanities has experienced the same pressures as ed-tech: the myth that bigger is always better. Minimal computing was developed as a method for addressing this myth. In their introduction to the “Minimal Computing” special issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly, Roopika Risam and Alex Gil (2022) offer a compelling definition:

Minimal computing is less a singular methodology — or even a coherent set of methodologies — than it is a mode of thinking about digital humanities praxis that resists the idea that ‘innovation’ is defined by newness, scale, or scope. Broadly speaking, minimal computing connotes digital humanities work undertaken in the context of some set of constraints. This could include lack of access to hardware or software, network capacity, technical education, or even a reliable power grid.

Minimal computing principles, we propose, offer an opportunity to interrogate the socio-political dimensions of ed tech and imagine new futures for justice through digital pedagogy. The work of imagining different futures for educational technology beyond those put forward to us as inevitable by Big Ed-tech (Williamson, 2022) is essential to our ability to see past the seductive rhetoric of freedom through platformization in education (see Grimaldi and Ball, 2021).

Minimal computing offers a way to push against this pressure, making digital humanities scholarship more accessible and sustainable, while also putting local context and constraints at the forefront of any decisions around technology use in the project. We invite submissions that explore educational technology and its application through the four key questions of minimal computing, 1) “what do we need?”; 2) “what do we have”; 3) “what must we prioritize?”; and 4) “what are we willing to give up?” (Risam and Gil, 2022), as a way of resisting an imagined future presented to us by Big Ed-tech as inevitable.

To explore how instructors and instructional designers put minimal computing into practice in teaching, we are soliciting essays that grapple with the core questions of minimal computing as they resist, hack, and transform ed tech. Topics can include but are not limited to:

  • Negotiating student access to hardware and software;
  • Using minimal hardware, such as arduinos and simple circuits for teaching;
  • Teaching with minimal computation, such as simple scripts, bash, tranductions, etc.;
  • Class assignments integrating static-site generation technologies (e.g. Jekyll and Jekyll-based workflows, such as Ed. and Wax);
  • Teaching fundamentals of computing through the humanities and humanistic social sciences;
  • Forms of “making do” with technology in teaching, such as jugaad, hacktivism, and DIY; and
  • Technological disobedience in the classroom by using technologies or platforms in ways they were not intended by developers or companies.
  • Addressing digital redlining and lack of institutional resources.
  • Thinking through inclusivity and accessibility through or in spite of technology.

Abstracts of 350-500 words will be accepted until 15 January 2023, and accepted draft submissions will be due by 15 August 2023. Revised essays will undergo a blind peer review process with publication anticipated for mid-2024.

dh+lib Review

This post was produced through a cooperation between Claudia Berger, Lisa Bonifacic, Tierney Gleason, Saumya Gupta, Jennifer Matthews, Danelle Orange, and Mimosa Shah (Editors-at-Large), Nickoal Eichmann-Kalwara and Linsey Ford (Editors for the week), Caitlin Christian-Lamb, Pamella Lach, Hillary Richardson, and Rachel Starry (dh+lib Review Editors), and John Russell (Editor in Chief).