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Title: “Cracks in the Code”: Transformative Learning in Video Gaming Communities

Presenter: Arturo Cortez, PhD, Assistant Professor of Learning Sciences and Human Development, School of Education, University of Colorado Boulder

Abstract: Arundhati Roy (2020) argues that portals are “a gateway between one world and the next.” Within the context of social rebellion and global pandemic, new portals have revealed social possibilities, facilitating the development of emancipatory practices, such as freedom dreaming. Contemporaneously, video gaming spaces have played an important role in mediating such collaborative imaginings of new possible futures. In line with this current phenomena, this presentation will share preliminary findings emerging from The Learning To Transform (LiTT) Video Gaming Lab, a social design-based experiment that supports undergraduates, community members, and Black and Latinx high school students in jointly re-imagining the role of everyday video gaming contexts as robust learning environments. Specifically, the presentation will highlight several cases of transformative learning to illuminate the possibilities for seeing collaborative socio-political action in video-game play. These examples open up possibilities for co-designing educator and young people’s  learning ecologies toward fugitive and abolitionist imaginaries, thereby re-articulating video game play, collaboration, and activism toward consequential forms of learning. 

Bio: 

Arturo Cortez is an Assistant Professor of Learning Sciences and Human Development at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he is also a fellow of the Institute of Cognitive Science. Broadly, Professor Cortez explores the possibilities of co-designing for consequential learning in intergenerational and trans-disciplinary learning environments that include educators, young people and multiple community members. In particular, he is interested in how young people and educators speculate new possible futures, opening up opportunities for building imaginary and real worlds, using today's most cutting-edge technologies.


His most recent work has been published in the Cognition and Instruction, Journal of Futures Studies, Review of Research in Education, and Mind, Culture, and Activity. Furthermore, his research has been funded by the George Lucas Educational Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the National Science Foundation. Professor Cortez’s early commitments to amplifying the everyday practices of youth were jointly-honed and developed while he was a middle school teacher in East Palo Alto and a high school teacher in San Francisco.

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