The Future is Minimal




Big Ed-Tech (Williamson, 2022) dominates the narrative and our (collective) imagination about the future of ed-tech. But what if there were alternatives to help us image the future differently?

Enter minimal computing.

Developed and adopted as an approach in digital humanities to counter the “big” DH narrative that has become dominant in that field. This brings up questions of funding, sustainability, and access and accessibility. The four core questions/constraints that drive the minimal computing movement are: 1) “what do we need?”; 2) “what do we have”; 3) “what must we prioritize?”; and 4) “what are we willing to give up?” (Risam and Gil, 2022, para. 5)

While there have been sessions at the Reclaim conference about topics that could be considered a minimal computing approach (e.g. flat HTML), this session will be a space to participate in a thought exercise about the future of ed-tech shaped by the constraints of minimal computing. I will start by introducing the concept and how it has been applied in DH, and then participants will be asked to engage with a handful of generative and speculative exercises to get us thinking of a future beyond the one that Big Ed-Tech would impose on us.

  • *I have a forthcoming article, “Digital Redlining, Minimal Computing, and Equity” in CRITICAL DIGITAL PEDAGOGY IN HIGHER EDUCATION: BROADENING HORIZONS, BRIDGING THEORY AND PRACTICE, edited by Suzan Koseoglu, George Veletsianos, and Chris Rowell (Athabasca UP, 2022) that looks at minimal computing specifically addressing issues of digital redlining.
  • Risam, Roopika, and Alex Gil. 2022. “Introduction: The Question of Minimal Computing.” <i>Digital Humanities Quarterly</i> 16 (2). Accessed 11 September 2022.
  • Williamson, Ben. 2022. “Big EdTech.” <i>Learning, Media and Technology</i> 47 (2): 157-162. doi:10.1080/17439884.2022.2063888


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