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NCTE 2022 YA Sci Fi Presentation.pptx

This document discusses using young adult (YA) science fiction novels to teach students about posthumanism and technology's impact on what it means to be human. It notes how NCTE calls on teachers to have students critically examine ethics and responsibilities regarding information use. YA science fiction provides a way to imagine future scenarios and engage students in considering technology-related ethical issues like online privacy, data tracking, and biases in artificial intelligence. The document analyzes themes across several example novels, like humans needing human solutions and free will. It provides teaching applications like discussing vocabulary, creating multimodal projects, highlighting socially just themes, and critical digital pedagogy topics.

1 of 15
Finding the Future Through Digital Technologies
and Posthumanism in YAL
Amy Piotrowski, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Kalie Chamberlain, Doctoral Student
Utah State University
The Issue
NCTE’s Definition of Literacy in a Digital Age (2019) calls on
teachers to have students:
● “Participate effectively and critically in a networked world”
● “Examine the rights, responsibilities, and ethical
implications of the use and creation of information”
The Issue
One way to think about ethics and responsibilities is through
science fiction, a genre that is “a literature of possibilities and
alternatives” (Mendlesohn).
The Issue
What does it mean to be human in a world of the Internet,
artificial intelligence, virtual reality, social media, smart
devices, and data collection many places we go offline and
online?
The Issue
“Literature possess the power to imagine a future and, in so
doing, engage readers in questions of ethics in otherwise
unthought-of scenarios. Through reading and critical
discussion, English teachers offer students emotional and
social questions, enabling them - we hope - to face their
future dilemmas with intelligence, empathy, and autonomy”
(Lindblom, Rivera, & Radice, 2020).
The Issue
Posthumanism examines technology’s impact on humanity
and society, from Haraway (1985) and Hayles (1999), in
which the boundaries between the human and the
technological are blurred, to recent work examining
depictions of technology in YAL (Flannagan, 2014; Hervey
2018).

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NCTE 2022 YA Sci Fi Presentation.pptx

  • 1. Finding the Future Through Digital Technologies and Posthumanism in YAL Amy Piotrowski, Ph.D., Associate Professor Kalie Chamberlain, Doctoral Student Utah State University
  • 2. The Issue NCTE’s Definition of Literacy in a Digital Age (2019) calls on teachers to have students: ● “Participate effectively and critically in a networked world” ● “Examine the rights, responsibilities, and ethical implications of the use and creation of information”
  • 3. The Issue One way to think about ethics and responsibilities is through science fiction, a genre that is “a literature of possibilities and alternatives” (Mendlesohn).
  • 4. The Issue What does it mean to be human in a world of the Internet, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, social media, smart devices, and data collection many places we go offline and online?
  • 5. The Issue “Literature possess the power to imagine a future and, in so doing, engage readers in questions of ethics in otherwise unthought-of scenarios. Through reading and critical discussion, English teachers offer students emotional and social questions, enabling them - we hope - to face their future dilemmas with intelligence, empathy, and autonomy” (Lindblom, Rivera, & Radice, 2020).
  • 6. The Issue Posthumanism examines technology’s impact on humanity and society, from Haraway (1985) and Hayles (1999), in which the boundaries between the human and the technological are blurred, to recent work examining depictions of technology in YAL (Flannagan, 2014; Hervey 2018).
  • 7. The Issue YA science fiction provides readers with a look at the ethics of Internet technologies, online spaces, and artificial intelligence. These texts demonstrate how technologies aren’t neutral, reflect the biases of the people who make them, and come with ethical issues.
  • 12. Patterns and Themes Across Novels ● Most of the villains are human, not robots or computers - one features AI that violently turns on humans, two have semi-rogue AI. ● Human problems need human solutions - problems aren’t solved by technology alone. ● Humans need to stay connected to what makes us human: stories, empathy, & free will.
  • 13. Teaching Applications ● Teach vocabulary (morphology, etymology, and neologisms). ● Create multimodal products. ● Highlight socially just characters and themes. ● Pair canonical science fiction with contemporary YA.
  • 14. Teaching Applications ● Engage in critical digital pedagogy. Online Privacy. Ad Tracking & Profiling. Surveillance & Facial Recognition in Schools. Techno-Racism.
  • 15. Questions? ● Amy’s Email: amy.piotrowski@usu.edu ● Kalie’s Email: kalie.chamberlain@gmail.com