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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Learning, Media and Technology

For a Special Issue on
Minimal Computing and Ed Tech

Abstract deadline
15 January 2023

Manuscript deadline
15 August 2023

Cover image - Learning, Media and Technology

Special Issue Editor(s)

Lee Skallerup Bessette, Georgetown University
[email protected]

Roopika Risam, Dartmouth College
[email protected]

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Minimal Computing and Ed Tech

This special issue will explore the relationship between educational technology and minimal computing, an approach to technology that responds to the local contexts and constraints that shape use. 

In their editorial, “What is ‘Critical’ in Critical Studies of edtech? Three Responses,” Felicitas Macgilchrist (2021) identifies three main areas of study for ed-tech: 

1) “observing emerging technologies, questioning the hype surrounding them and reflecting on their sociopolitical implications”; 

2) “the work of asking how educational technologies are contributing to the reproduction of inequalities or the exacerbation of injustice”; and 

3) “critiquing contemporary education and society by imagining ‘other’ futures.”  

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.

Submission Instructions

Interested authors should submit an abstract (350-500 words) to Lee Skallerup Bessette and Roopika Risam by January 15, 2023.

Invitations to submit a full manuscript will be sent by February 15, 2023. Draft submissions will be due to Bessette and Risam by August 15, 2023. In early October, we will hold a two-day virtual workshop for all writers to share and receive feedback on their essays. Revisions will be due December 1, 2023. Revised essays will undergo a blind peer review process. Publication is anticipated in mid-2024.

Please remember to select  “special issue title” when submitting your essay to ScholarOne.

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article

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