RadEd Reading Group meets ATF: Reading on Hack culture and Data gathering in schools, 23 Feb, 7.15 – 9.15pm

For our next RadEd Reading group, we will be a collaborating with the Common House’s own Autonomous Tech Fetish (ATF), to explore where Hack culture and analysis meet with radical pedagogies and analysis.

When: Monday, 23rd of February, 7.15-9.15pm

The first aspect we want to discuss is the relation between hacking and pedagogy. Hacking is a practice widely regarded in the digital world as both non-normative, even deviant computing and is commonly practiced, as for instance when someone cracks a phone’s software to install programs or an operating that would otherwise not be possible. The term has been more generally applied to everyday life—as in “lifehack.” Its aim is to work around a variety of obstacles to achieve a specific goal or to produce a significant difference in the material organisation of things. People hack websites, computers, code, interfaces, and increasingly this is done for specifically political (not always of course emancipatory) projects. It is a broad term whose orientation is perhaps best understood through the DIY (or DIcollectively!) ethos of famous hackers like Aaron Swartz and Anonymous. Its aim is to empower people to question the often hidden codes and protocols that govern algorithmic capital. In terms of radical pedagogy, the question is perhaps not how to teach hacking but how to engage with this ethos while co-learning capacities and strategies for politicised and collective workarounds. There is for instance scope to consider teaching practices that engage and empower students and teachers to consider information technology from a non-technical perspective, as a set of protocols and interfaces that can be reverse engineered, modulated, mutated, and thus potentially tied to political projects for social and economic emancipation.

Part of this from ATF’s perspective is to address the perceptual norms that computing today enforce, and how to queer those interfaces and technologies (both perceptually and technically) to the point of their complete reimagining as free and open source technologies that can and must be changed.

The second area, is the role of data gathering, information tracking, tagging, metadata coding, student assessment, and performance evaluation in primary and secondary schooling in the UK (and the global North more generally). This area of enquiry and action is to understand first of all how data is generated from the coded behaviour of students, and how these protocols, interfaces, and surveillance and control techniques affect how teachers teach, and how students learn today.

For more info and links to the readings, see here: https://www.commonhouse.org.uk/event/rad-ed-reading-group-2/

If you are interested in these topics, we also have a more extensive reading list, email us!