Taking a Humanities+Tech Approach

Creating Inclusive Tools and Learning Experiences

Update 2/25/20: See a recap of this event, a short video overview of the project, and our culminating report, Humanities+Tech: Lessons Learned in Designing Discussions on the Future of Learning and Work.

The Digital Age has brought a plethora of new communications tools, but some might argue that it has become harder, not easier, for human beings to learn and listen to each other. Could the humanities help?

In a yearlong project in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas, New America and local partners have hosted three events to test that question. Using tools and spotlighting methods borrowed from the humanities—including storytelling, writing, history, mapmaking, geography, and the art of craftsmanship—New America and local partners brought people together to talk about what they want from their education systems, their communities, and the technology and media in their lives. A key theme that arose in our events was inclusivity: both the desire to include more diverse perspectives in the design of learning tools as well as in the decision making about how we share new technologies.

On February 20th, join New America for a discussion with national and local leaders in education and technology about applying those ideas across our schools, libraries, and community spaces. Attendees will also have a chance to contribute their own "humanities moment" to the National Humanities Center’s online library. Reception to follow.

With thanks to the Grable Foundation and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation for their support of the Humanities+Tech event series, which also includes previous events on the future of education, digital mapping and history, and making and the future of work.


– 5 p.m Welcome & video showcase

Lisa Guernsey
Director of Teaching, Learning, and Tech, New America

5: 15 p.m. Panel One: What does it look like to include students, educators, and families in tech design and decision making? How can the humanities help?

Nettrice Gaskins
Digital Artist, Art & Algorhythms

Vikki Katz
Associate Professor, School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University

Andy Mink
Vice President of Education, National Humanities Center

Illah Nourbakhsh
Director, Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab

Torie Bosch
Future Tense Editor, Slate Magazine

5:45 p.m. Panel Two: What can we learn from initiatives in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas?

James Brown
Project Director, YMCA Lighthouse Project, Homewood-Brushton YMCA

Edwin Huang
Filmmaker and mentor, Steeltown Entertainment

Roberta Schomburg
Interim Executive Director, Fred Rogers Center

Shimira Williams
Founder, C.C. BUSY

Torie Bosch
Future Tense Editor at Slate Magazine

6:15 p.m. Next Steps and feedback
With remarks by Gregg Behr, Executive Director of the Grable Foundation

6:30 p.m. Reception

This is a partnered event with:

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