Learning On-the-Move for More Equitable Communities: A Comparative Investigation of Youth Civic Participation in Nonmetropolitan and Urban Areas
Katie Headrick Taylor

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Washington

Primary Discipline

Geographic inequality exists within cities. But geographic inequality also exists between globalizing cities and economically struggling or stagnant towns. This kind of geographic inequality, especially in relation to supporting youth civic participation, is vastly understudied. This project adds such a comparative framing to the field of education research, treating the historical and present day movements of learners as spaces for analysis and focused education design work toward more equitable communities for youth. I do so using an existing Mobile City Science curriculum, a set of digital STEAM activities supporting youth to develop new techno-civic literacies through their study of local issues — so far used with students living in underserved neighborhoods in Seattle, New York, and Chicago. This project will iterate these designed activities using mobile and geospatial tools in a town located in a nonmetropolitan area; this iteration will afford symmetrically collected, organized, and comparative data across understudied nonmetropolitan and urban contexts. Comparing data of youth civic participation across these sites will contribute a new analytic lens that foregrounds the issue of technological and physical mobility in clarifying how geographies of opportunity nurture youth to be or become community advocates.
About Katie Headrick Taylor
Katie Headrick Taylor is an assistant professor of learning sciences and human development at the University of Washington’s College of Education. She studies the digital literacy practices of children, youth, and families from geographically, racially, and socioeconomically diverse communities. As part of this research, she designs and studies digital, public-facing educational environments that support youth mobility and mapping, and that leverage technologies to engage young people in historic and civic processes that drive community change. Dr. Taylor’s research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation and has appeared in The Journal of the Learning Sciences, Cognition & Instruction, Learning, Media, and Technology, and Review of Research in Education.

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