It is 2020 and, still, many teams, products, and services across sectors yield inaccessible, inequitable, or otherwise problematic designed experiences. Why does this happen? What can we do about it? In this talk, I will share how this truth manifested in my own work, which focuses on designing technologies for learning in cross-cultural contexts, and present a new approach, culturally disruptive design, for how to critically (re)engage our research, teaching, and design work. Culturally disruptive design requires us to identify and disrupt tensions in underlying knowledge systems, values, and beliefs, which leads to self-discoveries and innovation. To illustrate these points, I will share empirical examples from two projects: (1) a partnership with the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation in which youth and Elders are working together to design a place-based storytelling experience at the Bear River Massacre site, and (2) a partnership of Indigenous and non-Indigenous, researchers designers, and educators in which we are collaboratively redesigning sixth grade curriculum across disciplines to develop students cultural competence.
Breanne K. Litts is an Assistant Professor in Instructional Technologies and Learning Sciences and director of Learn Explore Design Lab at Utah State University. She investigates how people learn through making, designing, and producing at the intersection of physical and digital worlds. She conducts this work in collaboration with Indigenous communities, formal and out-of-school educators, and other community organizations. Together they examine how young people construct their identities through place and story, how to use technology to bring people together in cross-cultural contexts, and how people collaborate across disciplines, communities, and cultures. Her current work is supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation. Dr. Litts’ work appears in journals such as Teachers College Record, Harvard Educational Review, and Interactive Learning Environments.