Although the work of learning scientists and instructional designers has brought about countless curricula, designs, and theoretical claims, the community has been less active in communicating the explicit and implicit critical social agendas that result (or could result) from their work.
It is our belief that the community of learning scientists is well positioned to build transformative models of what could be, to develop learning and teaching interventions that have impact, and to advance theory that will prove valuable to others. This potential, we argue, would be significantly
heightened if we as a community embrace the critical agendas that are central to so many discussions in anthropology, philosophy, or even curriculum development more generally. Instead of simply building an artifact to help individuals accomplish a particular task, or to meet a specific standard, the focus of critical design work is to develop sociotechnical structures that facilitate individuals in critiquing and improving themselves and the societies in which they function, and then we use our understanding of participation with these structures to advance theory. As an example of critical design work, we describe the Quest Atlantis project and the methodology used in its creation.
THE JOURNAL OF THE LEARNING SCIENCES, 16(2), 263–305
Copyright © 2007, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
About Sasha A. Barab PhD
Sasha Barab is a Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University, where he co-founded and serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Games and Impact.
Dr. Barab is an internationally recognized Learning Scientist who holds the Pinnacle West Chair of Education, and who has researched, designed, and published extensively on the challenges and opportunities of using games for impact.
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