A critical affordance of educational technologies and learning design is the capacity to address global problems through digital education. This course considers what might be one of society’s greatest challenges: transitioning to alternative forms of energy in order to avoid a worsening climate crisis. How can we employ digital technologies to teach our learners about energy systems and climate challenges, and influence social and cultural change through digital education?
STEM subjects measure and document energy systems and their environmental impacts, but struggle to bring about positive change. Fortunately, digital arts and humanities strategies like storytelling, social media, and viral activism excel at analyzing and harnessing patterns and interconnections of human behaviour. Environmental and energy advocacy increasingly involves digital tools, from social media advocacy to graphing and mapping data.
This course ultimately aims to provide you with the tools to recognize basic energy technologies and infrastructures in relationship to the cultural and social dimensions of energy. Because the majority of the population lacks an understanding of the environmental and social impacts of energy usage, they cannot fully engage in the development of better practices and policies as educators and citizens. Energy literacy draws on conceptual, visual, and narrative models, as well as through policy and science. Developing these energy epistemologies enhances the ways we can think and know about our energy pasts and futures. Both quantitative and qualitative methods contribute to basic energy understanding, but this course emphasizes the need for qualitative approaches in the digital arts and humanities – also known as the digital energy humanities – to address both literacy and action toward our energy futures.
This course and its related assignments, discussion and activities are directed toward the following goals:
- Increase understanding of environmental and energy issues, such as climate justice, to promote different motivations, actions, or behaviours in and across digital mediums
- Enhance STEAM curriculum, emphasizing the importance of the digital arts and humanities to further recognize qualitative educational models of energy literacy in sustainability education
- Develop methods for imagining and realizing how our energy futures materialize in social, cultural, and creative practices across digital and multimedia platforms
- Improve cultural and social awareness by thinking critically and creatively when exploring ideas within, between, and beyond texts
- Acquire necessary tools for teaching about energy issues through digital media arts