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LoveMaps for Middle School: Nurturing Digital Activism for Social Justice

LoveMaps for Middle School: Nurturing Digital Activism for Social Justice

University of Arizona / The Feminist Wire

Program Summary

The University of Arizona Foundation, for the benefit of the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS) and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), and The Feminist Wire (TFW) request $9,621 to support workshops for middle-school children on digital activism for social justice. Committed to connected learning and to creating safe, creative ways for children to engage the Internet, workshops will provide participants with digital tools, opportunities to produce digital media, and a venue for digital activism.

The partners are well-positioned to lead these workshops. The Feminist Wire is an online publication committed to feminist, anti-racist work. Among TFW’s features is Elementary Feminisms, designed to profile the voices of emergent K-12 feminists. WISE has targeted experience with K-12 students, working to encourage girls and communities of color to engage science, technology, and engineering. GWS is committed to intellectual and pedagogical activities that foster understanding and connect to social justice praxis.

We invite participation from middle-school children who likely have had Internet exposure and experience, and are likely to be developing an interest in social justice. Middle schoolers share core strengths and vulnerabilities, especially girls who by this age are beginning to question their academic abilities. We believe, and data support this, that middle school is an especially ideal time to intervene in learning.

The cornerstone of our project is the collaborative creation, production, and use of LoveMaps, a GIS social app that will enable participants to locate, follow, and learn from positive examples of social justice. We will focus on the UA campus, specifically the Women’s Plaza of Honor featuring notable women in Arizona history. Students will also learn that LoveMaps can have far broader geographic applicability. They will discuss their collaborations and produce content for TFW, taking the form of co-authored articles, digital media, interviews, or other engagement.

Agenda

We are planning two workshops:

Saturday, September 7, 2013, 10 AM – 4 PM
Saturday, September 14, 2013, 10 AM – 4 PM

Each workshop will include up to 15 participants, for a total of 30 planned participants. Each participant will be part of only one workshop, and the workshops will have the same format both times. Workshops will take place in the Gender and Women’s Studies conference room and at the Women’s Plaza of Honor on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson, Arizona.

Agenda

10:00 – 10:15 AM Welcome, Introductions, Snacks
Dr. Monica J. Casper, GWS and TFW

10:15 – 10:30 AM What is digital activism?
Dr. November Papaleo, WISE

10:30-11:00 AM Creating a Facebook page for Elementary Feminisms
Dr. November Papaleo, WISE

11:00 – Noon GIS technology: What is it? How do we make it? How do we use it?
Nicholas Knutson, SIROW

Noon – 12:30 PM Brainstorming: Mapping social justice
Dr. November Papaleo, WISE
Nicholas Knutson, SIROW

12:30 – 1:15 PM Working lunch: What is feminist publishing?
Dr. Monica J. Casper, GWS and TFW
Dr. Sally Stevens, SIROW

1:15 – 2:45 PM Walk to Women’s Plaza of Honor with GIS
Dr. November Papaleo, WISE
Nicholas Knutson, SIROW

2:45 – 3:30 PM Small group collaboration for TFW contribution
All instructors/mentors

3:30 – 3:45 PM Workshop Evaluation (SurveyMonkey)
Dr. November Papaleo, WISE

3:45 – 4:00 PM Wrap-Up
Dr. Sally Stevens, SIROW

GIS or geographic information systems technology is increasingly being used in social justice work, for example through mapping sexual violence in Syria or hate speech in the U.S. As with other forms of activism, including feminist publishing, the focus is typically on something negative that is happening (e.g., rape in Syria). The Feminist Wire has attempted to create a more forward-thinking approach through publication of “love notes,” essays that celebrate contributions to justice.

The LoveMaps app is inspired both by TFW’s love notes and by WISE’s work with K-12 students, and is intended to provide students (and eventually others) with tools to locate, follow, and learn from positive examples of social justice.

Learning objectives for the workshops will include how to use the Internet safely and productively; how to create and use GIS technology; how to interact collaboratively with peers and mentors; how to translate civic engagement and social justice into digital media; how to understand and respond to social problems; and how to engage with a feminist publishing platform.

Workshop participants will take home a flash drive with materials and resources, an Elementary Feminisms t-shirt, and an Elementary Feminisms Handbook.

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