DPL 2020 #STEMDigPed Day 5 (Critical Pedagogy in Labs)

Ghost Post Day 5 (https://stem.dpl.online/day-5-2/)

What outspoken advocate for the well-being of people of color and other minoritized people in STEM hasn’t been told some version of, “It’d be easier to hear your message if it was more pleasant to listen to”? The people making these kinds of comments always think they are saying something of great practical importance, but really what they’re saying is that they will allow injustice to persist until its victims grovel with sufficiently pleasing manners. (Chanda Prescod-WeinsteinTone Policing & the Sound of Equality in STEM)

Today we deliberate using critical pedagogy and critical digital pedagogy in labs. While allowing students to have flexibility in our lab classes moves towards critical pedagogy, there are always major safety issues to consider (at least in chemistry, microbiology, some engineering, etc..) when we think about trying to give students greater agency. Anytime we have our students work in groups, we must consider the attendance and etiquette issues that accompany that group work, and these considerations are no different in lab.

And yet lab may be the class that keeps a single working mom from achieving her academic goals. Or it may be the place where one of our TAs tells our oppressed students that they simply aren’t good enough to be a doctor or a physicist or an engineer. Or it may be where our transgendered student feels absolutely judged every single day, not from explicit words, but stares and a shunning of involvement.

So today is where we take a hard look at our lab classes and continue to question: 1. whether each lab class is still an essential part of the curriculum; 2. why we implement the classes in the way we do (and if that works with critical pedagogy or not); and 3. what we can do to implement critical pedagogy in our specific sections of the lab class if 1 and 2 must rigidly remain the same as they are now.

We have our last synchronous meeting today at 1pm MDT/3pm EDT. The Zoom link is under the Synchronous Sessions chat in Discourse or in your email. Please join us as we chat about what we’ve learned thus far.

The chat yesterday was awesome because Rajiv Jhangiani was able to join us and share his expertise. And he shared A LOT of expertise. A recording will be made available on my pedagogy YouTube channel (it’s where the vidcasts have been). The recording from yesterday (which is unlisted) is here.

In terms of the synchronous session yesterday with Rajiv, I have the chat transcript here (he shares many, many links in chat and I just couldn’t put all of the links – sorry y’all!).

Also, our Hypothes.is article from yesterday is still open and available for annotation today; it’s here. And if you want to look at something fun, Brad Hinson made a RSS feed of all of the updates to the DPL 2020 Sites and it’s here.

The plan for the day is here: https://stem.dpl.online/day-5/. The DPL master plan google doc is in the Google Drive, which also houses all of the non-open articles for the week, and is found here.


Ghost Page Day 5 (https://stem.dpl.online/day-5)

Friday, July 31, 2020 (Day 5)

Theme: Integrating Critical Pedagogy into the Lab Curriculum

Questions to Ponder

  • What struck you from today’s vidcast or readings? Any Aha’s?
  • What specific considerations do we need to make when we apply critical pedagogy in F2F labs? In online labs? In research labs?
  • What kinds of power structures exist in labs? Why do these exist? How do they manifest?
  • How do we share power in these spaces?


Readings, Videos, Podcasts, etc.

DPL Vidcast Episode 5 with Maria Gallardo-Williams

Online Learning in a Hurry with Dave Cormier Guest Episode 3 – Trust your STEM Students (Clarissa Sorensen-Unruh)

Sorensen-Unruh, C. (2020). Online Labs and the Question of the Relevance of the Lab Curriculum [Blog Post]. ChemEdX.

Hofstein, A., & Lunetta, V. N. (2004). The laboratory in science education: Foundations for the Twenty-First Century. Science Education, 88(1), 28-54.


Resources to Explore

MERLOT Virtual Lab Home

Dave Cormier’s Magic Online Lab Google Spreadsheet

AAAS Science in the Classroom


Prescod-Weinstein, C. (2015 April 25). Decolonizing Science Reading List [Blog Post].


Extension Readings, Videos, Podcasts, etc. [THESE ARE SUPER OPTIONAL!]

Dunnagan, C. L., Dannenburg, D. A., Cuales, M. P., Earnest, A. D., Gurnsey, R. M., & Gallardo-Williams, M. T. (2020). Production and evaluation of a realistic immersive virtual reality organic chemistry laboratory experience: Infrared spectroscopy. J. Chem. Educ., 97(1), 258-262.

Lawrie, G. A., Grøndahl, L., Boman, S., & Andrews, T. (2016). Wiki Laboratory Notebooks: Supporting Student Learning in Collaborative Inquiry-Based Laboratory Experiments. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 25(3), 394–409. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10956-016-9601-0


Discourse Day 5

Hi y’all!

Today we discuss how to implement critical pedagogy in labs. For those of us who don’t teach labs, it can be a catch-up/breather kind of day. Remember also to take time for yourself if you need it. We have one more day after today – on Saturday we’re discussing self care.

Let’s check in. What small or large epiphanies (A-ha’s) have you had since yesterday? Was there anything in yesterday’s material, keynote, or synchronous session that made you want to know more? Anything you’d like to share?

Also, time to weigh in – after DPL ends, would you rather continue our discussion on Discourse (which will be around for awhile after DPL ends but we’re not sure how long because it’s due to server space) or move the conversation to Slack?

Also, let’s play our one of our last games of getting to know each other a bit better. What is one thing you are going to “take home” from DPL 2020? (I think for me it’s getting to know y’all and so appreciating your individual voices…)



Go back to Day 0, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, or Day 4. Go forward to Day 6.

5 thoughts on “DPL 2020 #STEMDigPed Day 5 (Critical Pedagogy in Labs)

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