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S07 E05 – Workforce development

In this episode, Doug and Laura talk to Prof. Krystal Rawls about AI and Open Recognition practices.

Krystal’s Favourite Books

  • Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks

Find all of our guests’ reading recommendations at our The Tao of WAO book club.



Important note: this is a lightly-edited AI transcription of the conversation. If you require verbatim quotations, please double-check against the audio!

Doug Belshaw: [00:00:23] Welcome to the Tao of WAO, a podcast about the intersection of technology, society and internet culture with a dash of philosophy and art for good measure. I’m Doug Belshaw.

Laura Hilliger: [00:00:34] And I’m Laura Hilliger. This podcast season is currently partially unfunded. You can support this podcast and other we are open projects and products at

Doug Belshaw: [00:00:46] So today’s guest is Krystal Rawls, program leader and storyteller, currently directing the Cal State University Dominguez Hills Workforce Integration Network. Quite a mouthful. She holds a doctorate of philosophy in higher education and is generally a huge advocate for teaching, learning and workforce development. So welcome to Krystal.

Krystal Rawls: [00:01:05] Hi, how are you both? Good morning.

Doug Belshaw: [00:01:09] Hi. Yeah, so a bit of a time difference between us today. It’s even later where Laura is 4 p.m. and very early for Krystal. So thank you for joining us so early in your day.

Laura Hilliger: [00:01:22] So our first question to guess is always what is your favourite book?

Krystal Rawls: [00:01:29] Well, my favourite book is a book called Teaching to Transgress, Teaching to Transgress by Bell Hooks. It’s about education as a practice of liberation of freedom.

Laura Hilliger: [00:01:47] Do you also have a non-fiction? I mean, a fiction favourite book, or is this your all around favourite or.

Krystal Rawls: [00:01:55] That’s my all around favourite because it’s like it’s it meant so much to me to understand what I was living at a particular time. And then I read this book and it was like, Oh, I really get it. I finally get it. And so I use that and I put that into my practice. So this is just like my all around favourite. And I quote it often.

Doug Belshaw: [00:02:21] I remember coming across Bell Hooks who had never heard of before when Danah Boyd who you also know, but she doesn’t capitalise her name and she said she doesn’t do it because of Bell Hooks. And that’s how I came across the work of Bell Hooks. And I haven’t read Bell Hooks directly. I’ve read it kind of secondarily through other people’s work and quoted and stuff. But is there anything in particular about that book you talked about how it influenced your practice, but is there any particular part of that book that when you think of it like that’s the bit that you, you go to that section, that page, that particular pithy quote or anything like that?

Krystal Rawls: [00:02:59] Um, not so much a pithy quote, but a section of understanding. So there’s a place where she was talking about how much she loved education as a kid, how she loved learning, she loved going to school. And then integration happened. And so here in the United States, we understand that to be the kind of Brown v Board 1965 esque, pushing everyone together. And often we think of integration as such. This positive thing and as a person who’s in higher education, you have to wonder, while you’re going through education and while you’re learning these things like how is this positive? Because it’s such a negative experience, it’s almost punitive regularly. And then I read Teaching to Transgress in this place where she talks about learning and loving it and then surviving integration and education with teachers who literally hated her and didn’t want her in the classroom. And so then I went, Oh, education is not about learning. It is about, you know, surviving the societal process. Because that’s how I felt all the time as a young black woman. I didn’t go to school very much. I dropped out. I was bored. I went for the tests and it wasn’t enough to prove that I was smart enough and could do the work. I did the test. I got the A’s, but I didn’t attend enough. I wasn’t quiet enough and I didn’t understand. And in reading teaching to transgress, I understood.

Doug Belshaw: [00:04:32] It’s interesting. So in the US, I guess which is different to to most of Europe, there’s the concept of seat time, which I think is still a still a thing, isn’t it?

Krystal Rawls: [00:04:41] Yes absolutely.

Doug Belshaw: [00:04:43] Even if you ace the test, you still have to sit there. Yeah.

Krystal Rawls: [00:04:46] Yeah. Instead of skipping me a couple of grades, which would have challenged me perhaps, and given me this leg up in society, they kicked me out of school, they expelled me, and I just didn’t go back because it wasn’t worth my time.

Laura Hilliger: [00:05:01] Can you can you talk a little bit about that? Can you talk about your sort of your career pathway? You had a you had a like you got kicked out of out of high school and then how did how did you go from, you know, not finishing high school or finishing in another way to where you are now, which is a program leader, a storyteller teller at a major state university? I mean, you’ve it’s you’re in a very different situation now. And I’d love to hear kind of how that came about.

Krystal Rawls: [00:05:34] So, you know, one thing I have to say is I knew I was smart enough and that helped. That helped a lot. So I just went and got a job. I was like, that’s fine. You know, somebody will pay me to do something. So I got a job as a receptionist and I really liked talking to people and making things work for other people because, you know, car salesmen aren’t the best at paperwork sometimes. And so I enjoyed that and most people didn’t realise I was 15, they just didn’t realise it and nobody cared. I could work after school. That was enough hours for me to live my life. And so I worked as a receptionist, first at a car dealership, and then I got into the trucking industry as a receptionist. Really loved that pace just right. The idea that I was helping make food move across the country was really cool to me in in my 20s, right? And so I went from being a receptionist to then learning brokerage because the receptionist tends to have to fill in for the brokers when they are on lunch or out of the office or on a call or whatever. And so I learned brokerage, and then I went, Oh, so I’m making somebody else money, so let’s not do that anymore.

Krystal Rawls: [00:06:49] And I opened my own brokerage firm my little own trucking brokerage and then, you know, happenstance, married a truck driver and we opened a trucking company. And so I did my own thing. And I really, really enjoyed that. And, you know, so cheers out there to the entrepreneurs and to the people who make a way when there is no way. And so then the trucking industry had a fuel surcharge that just made it untenable as a means of income. I had enough money saved away to do what I thought I wanted, so I went back to school because I always wanted to be a teacher. So yeah. So I went back to school, thought I wanted to be a teacher. Learned that teachers do not make a living wage in the US unless you are a tenured professor. That didn’t work for me. And so I am in higher education administration now and I apply the exact same skills that I did in trucking management and organisation and, you know, scheduling, tracking, same exact skill set just applied very much to a different industry. And now with a liberal dose of theory, foundational theories that support the why.

Doug Belshaw: [00:08:10] That’s really interesting. I didn’t know because we’ve been doing some kind of work together over the last few months. I didn’t know that that history and we’ve been doing work around badges and verifiable credentials and open recognition and talking about workforce development. And so for you having walked walked the talk like a lot of people in your position, I’m guessing haven’t gone through the kind of processes that you’ve been through. So I guess what workforce development means for you right now probably means a lot different to people going on LinkedIn. Having only ever been an academic and saying what workforce development means, right?

Krystal Rawls: [00:08:49] Yeah, absolutely. And in the space that we, you know, mutually inhabit open recognition, it’s very clear. I you know, I think from the story even that the skills may be enhanced by theory, but the practical skills that I use to do what it is that I do are the same pretty much right transition support. Now, I do understand the why, and that makes me a sharper nail, right? Like I can be more focussed. I understand the why and some innovative hows. And so how do we see one another? Not for the rules and regulations that say this is. How we recognise, but how do we actually recognise talent? In a respectful manner to experience.

Doug Belshaw: [00:09:42] And I know this from other conversations we’ve been in, but that kind of pushback, for want of a better term. But some of the the kind of awareness raising that you do on some of our calls in terms of what a different like a different kind of intersectional response to some of the conversations that we have where people make assumptions about the neutrality of AI or about different ways of knowing that kind of stuff. And I’m really interested to kind of dig in into that in terms of the work that you do and how much of your work is it’s a kind of an emotional labour and but it’s focussed on technology which is a which is a weird way of putting it together sometimes. Does that make sense? I’m just trying to sense.

Krystal Rawls: [00:10:32] Yeah, it makes perfect sense. And right when we think of or we talk about just the skills, I’m a little bit of a nerd. I’ve always been a little bit of a nerd. When I was not in school, I was reading books. I love books. When I was expelled, the hottest new thing out there was, you know, Fry’s Electronics in the United States. I don’t even know if it’s still a store because it’s been quite a few years ago, but they were selling computer kits. I had nothing else to do with my time. And it was a new puzzle. It was a new thing to do. And so here I am, first generation student now, right? I have the theory to reflect upon this. I didn’t then I just went and I had a job as a receptionist. I bought myself a computer kit, put it together, built my own computer, had so much fun learning dos by myself. Right. Like. The education happens in many ways, and I had those experiences and those experiences just because I was poor and first generation did not mean I did not have the capacity. It meant I had limited resources. Now, if I were in school twiddling my thumbs like they preferred, I be be quiet, sit there. I may not have built those computers that guaranteed the understanding that I could participate in technology When everything else said I couldn’t because I didn’t have the education or what have you. So the practice, right? I spoke about bell hooks. The practice of freedom was liberation, socioeconomic attainment for myself. And I just understand it in a way that when I worked with first generation students, I remind them that before they ever hit the university, they had lives and they do things right. And so it is it’s a push back and it is a life. It’s not necessarily an academic or professional practice. It is a life. I continue to live in my world view and in my life experience that many people in the place that I’m at don’t have. I know for a fact that first generation students are innovative because they have to be. They have no choice. I know for a fact that they are talented and skilled because I’ve been that underrepresented, disrespected academically student who could do all the things. If anyone had given me five seconds of a chance to have a conversation, you know? So it’s a life and I bring it to work and I let my life over. I let my life be the focus of my work. So for me, work life balance, it’s more like life work balance because it is my life that we’re talking about. And I know how many people would benefit from hearing me say, Who cares what they say? Like, really? You’ve already done the thing. Who cares? You know how someone else perceives it. So yeah, it it’s a labour, absolutely. But it’s a labour of life, love and responsibility because I’m a human being and that’s what we do. You know, you, you handle.

Laura Hilliger: [00:13:57] I mean I think this is a really interesting through line in a lot of like quote unquote edtech people’s work is like the we’ve talked about this on on other episodes of this podcast even just the you know the the curvy line that it takes to to get to where we all are now. And you know the career the experience that that happened to get people where they are and that like part of the thing about open recognition is that it enables us to actually mark some of those experiences for for the next generation in a way that makes it easier to understand where the lines of privilege and power are. And I think those the only one of the things I really admire about you, Krystal, is the way that you use story to actually show other people where those lines are for you and help them see where they might be for them. I think that’s a really powerful and interesting way to to look at education and to look at the work you do with young people.

Krystal Rawls: [00:15:00] Well, I think it goes back to what Doug said right about. Just being able to it’s well, it’s not really a story. It’s being authentic. It’s telling the truth. Right. And navigating that in an authentic manner or navigating your truth in an authentic manner is part of open recognition. It’s part of the principles that we collectively put together. Now, would those principles have looked different if I were not in the room? Quite possibly. But it takes everybody to be in the room, right? You folks remind us often not to be so North American centric. And look, I manage not to say American centric, centring North America like this little region. Right. This little piece of America and so generous in right when I say so where is that place in Europe? Somewhere like I am. You know, almost stereotypically about my geography and there’s never any shame. There’s an open acknowledgement of the cultural wealth that I bring. And we act in community, right? You teach us. We teach you. And this is what makes it better. We can recognise what’s best in all of us, and we put together that puzzle together. So I think it’s a collective, it’s a community build that will make all the things that are not great about society better.

Doug Belshaw: [00:16:34] Just going back to the storytelling bit and you said it’s about being authentic and I think it’s interesting. Two, because you’ve kind of glossed over about the really important work that you do, like connecting learners, communities and getting people to tell their story in a in a different way. So for example, Laura alluded to another podcast episode where one of our guests talked about being lucky, but then immediately went into a conversation about curiosity. And that’s kind of something which we’ve started digging into in this episode as well. It would be easy to think like, Oh, Krystal was so lucky to get to be Professor, but that’s not luck. That’s, you know, making sure you’re in the right conversations. That’s having this fierce curiosity to get a computer kit and to teach yourself dos and that kind of thing. And I wondered whether that kind of curiosity is something that you can teach when you’re creating those connections between learners and communities and the programs that you’re working on or whether that’s something you have to inspire in others or how that works.

Krystal Rawls: [00:17:39] So I’m going to drop back to my sociology theories, right? So that unequal childhoods cultivation theory, it takes support to cultivate a sense of agency and empowerment. And so when you ask, can we teach it, I don’t think it’s I think we teach it by supporting. When you lend that support, then you give room to be curious. You give room to take risks. I think that community and connecting that knowledge is important and that’s what I bring to my work. I think that’s the piece of that authentic experience that I didn’t have anyone to advocate for me or to support me or to even guide me or point me to the direction, you know, providing basic supports within the college environment which we can. We have those resources and we certainly used them to oppress underrepresented populations. So I see no reason why we can’t use those same supports to uplift underrepresented populations. So if we provide these supports where we talk about finance, where we talk about, well, these are the resources, this is where you might go to learn that information, then I think we can teach it. But is it just teaching it or is that more I mean, sometimes that line gets real fuzzy.

Laura Hilliger: [00:19:03] Yeah. No, I think I mean, I think there’s definitely something here about like modelling the behaviour you want to see in the world. So, you know, part of, part of the support structure that I like, I try to help other people have agency and feel empowered by sometimes acting outside of my comfort zone and, and showing that I, you know, have a voice in a situation where, you know, maybe I don’t really feel like speaking up because it’s hard. So I think those like support systems and when it comes to curiosity, empowerment, helping people like figure out who they are so that they can own their own authentic voice. There’s definitely something there about creating spaces where it’s safe to to speak up and that you see other people doing it. Yeah.

Krystal Rawls: [00:19:56] And it’s important to see other people who look like you doing it. So, you know, I mean, I have worked my way into a position to where, you know, when I say something that people in the room don’t like, I can give citations and references and all of these other things that lend support to my voice. Right? I am I went to UC Berkeley, a university in Northern California, and they have a space called the Free Speech Cafe. There was a free speech movement and a gentleman named Mario Savio talks about, you know, not being a commodity, being, you know, sometimes you have to put your bones within the wheels of the machine to stop the machine from functioning. My students didn’t get to go to Cal, but they have every last one of them heard that speech because I teach it, you know. Right. It is the march that Dr. King and all, you know, put their bodies on the line. And sometimes you do. Right. And so I am privileged. And so I use my privilege every day to speak on those things that are that are not helpful for our collective goal to survive on this planet. So I speak on it and say, you can’t do it with 75% of the population on board of off board, right, like the global majority are. You can’t do it without us. So how about we work together? And so I think that that’s something important for young people to hear and to hear from somebody who has taken those lashes that, you know, you’ll survive it. We’ll be okay.

Laura Hilliger: [00:21:42] Hm. I wonder. Oh, sorry, Doug.

Doug Belshaw: [00:21:45] I was just going to say that. So you’re working on this, this grant at the moment, I think the National Telecommunications Information Administration grant. And you said that your the purpose of the grant is to close the digital divide in underserved communities. And I know from doing very small bits of work here in the UK that tends to be like, Oh, they need equipment and they need digital skills. And it seems like your problematising that to a really useful extent to say, well, what are these skills? Are they actually the things that we think the people need in the workforce? Or is it a different set of skills as well as those skills? And it’s probably partly to do with access to the resource of the digital device and the connection and whatever. But actually there’s table stakes and then there’s so many things layered on top of that that maybe. You know, grant funded things don’t always get to because they often quite specify the kinds of things you can spend the money on. It sounds like there’s a whole more many more things you want to throw into the pot.

Krystal Rawls: [00:22:51] Oh, there’s so much more. And you know, again, I don’t work for NTIA either. But when we talk to our program officer and I explain the the we discuss because I don’t even have to explain it, they embrace what I’m saying about community and how the solve is in the community that it’s not so far removed as some people might like to think. It’s as simple as connecting devices, but it really is about removing the fear of innovation and technology and opening access to things. And our funding agency is like behind it 1,000%. And, you know, we it’s a grant. There are some things that we can and cannot spend on, but they’ve given us room to discuss how it could be, how it should be, and what’s the model for doing this properly. They’re not saying this is the build. They’re saying bring your knowledge to bear on the build and then let us fund it further. And I really appreciate that. And I lean into that. I am that person. So our evaluation gets a little tough when I say we don’t evaluate without our community members telling us what’s important to them because what’s important to our funder. I get it and they get it. But if you want adoption, which is what they want, then you’re going to have to ask the community what’s important to them and let them have room to learn and explore that instead of just providing metrics. You know, so it’s a build and they respect it. And I appreciate working in this space.

Doug Belshaw: [00:24:37] There’s a just before we dive into some of the AI stuff that reminded me of a wonderful post I read last week, I think it’s called Explode on Impact. And the the tldr of it is it’s impossible for organisations to demonstrate their impact if they work in complex environments. Asking them to do so requires them to create a fantasy version of their story of of the story of their work. And this corruption of data makes doing genuine change work harder because difficult to learn adapt from corrupted data. And it seems like I mean, have read the post, I don’t know if you’d agree with it or whatever, but when I read that post and thought about some of the work that you do and some of the work that we’ve done and stuff and how we’re creating fantasy versions of the story of the work that we do because we’re trying to please people who are quite far away but happen to be funding this work and, and how it actually makes the cycle harder rather than easier. Yeah, Yeah.

Krystal Rawls: [00:25:36] Well, this is my first grant, so I don’t really know how it’s done. I know how this is being done and it’s in my experience in this moment, it’s being done with respect to the communities that they’re attempting to serve or I wouldn’t play ball. I’m that person. I tap out and say, Yep, thank you, but not worth the last ten years of my life. So.

Laura Hilliger: [00:26:04] And in this in this program, I think that you mentioned some new technologies and innovative practices. And I was wondering, so this season, we’re trying to focus a little bit on AI. We kind of go all over the place with technology and education and philosophy and all the other things. But I was wondering if you might tell us a little bit about how AI is being used in this program, or.

Krystal Rawls: [00:26:29] We tend when we think digital divide, we tend to play to the lowest common denominator or the people who do not have a computer, the people who do not have Internet. And that’s one thing. But we don’t often think about a friend, artist of mine, Mary Harris, who’s an artist and who needs new technology to keep up competitively with the artwork that she’s creating. That’s going to cost her a young single entrepreneur like five K for equipment that’s just not in her worldview, right? We don’t think about the young first generation person who really wants to get into AI, but maybe doesn’t have training or doesn’t really understand some things and needs some support. That computer, that bare connective device that we give may or may not allow them to access certain levels of this type of technology. And so from my lens, things as simple as right, I have to train people on how to use this technology. How about I provide you with some prompts of AI and a training in AI and let you go and learn for yourself and interrogate for yourself the things that you need to know. And so I can be used in some really innovative ways to help close the digital divide. A personal tutor of all the things you didn’t know. Whatever it is you need to learn in that moment, it can be trained to do things like that. We have multiple tools that can do that. And so not only using AI in that manner in my work is like it’s a new technology, just like electric vehicle charging stations, those are starting to pop up. Be a big conversation here. But who’s going to like record that information? Where and how is that data going to be used? Right? How are people going to interact with this technology? How do we get them prepared? And I think the first part is just like taking the fear factor out of it, right? Like, let’s not demonise the tech if we don’t understand it. Take a moment. Go learn it, go play. You know, and by sharing how we use the tools. So I personally use air in my every day and not air, but I in my everyday work because I hate air paperwork. So it has like cut what was like a three hour nightmare job for me into like a 30 minute oh, here’s a template. Now this is what I need and this is what I understand. And now I can move my documents quicker. I teach my interns, you know, work smart, not hard because there is a such thing as work life balance, whether I demonstrate it personally or not. Right. And so teaching them how to answer basic questions, Google does a great job, right? The search engines do a great job, but you can only tailor a search engine conversation so much, right, with the booleans and such. I mean, some are really good at it, but so incorporating it regularly into the work to take the fear out of the conversation, changing the narrative, changing the conversation to not what am I going to lose to this technology, but how do we as a society benefit from this technology? How can it help us? So it’s narrative changing, right? Perspective taking.

Doug Belshaw: [00:29:55] I think what I used to work with some academics when I was working in higher education and one of the Martin Weller talked about how we need to move from a pedagogy of scarcity to a pedagogy of abundance. So his whole thing was pedagogy of abundance. And I feel like that in terms of. A lot of people’s view of the world. It’s always, like you say there, what is going to be taken away from me or what do I lack rather than even if I’m the worst off in in Western society, the access that you have to stuff is such that much greater than any point in history and you can have access to stuff as as your life has proved, as other people’s lives have proved as well that, you know, it’s not just, oh, if you try hard enough, you’ll you’ll make it like there are systemic inequalities for sure. But there is a definite mindset, the curious kind of mindset that you’ve demonstrated that can get you, um, and that kind of mindset can take you to different places than if you have this mindset of scarcity and that you’re always squabbling about trying. Um, get what’s get what’s due to you. I don’t think I’m kind of getting the point I want to make across, but I’m trying to say that there’s a difference between a mindset of scarcity and a mindset of abundance. That’s the point I’m trying.

Krystal Rawls: [00:31:21] And you say it beautifully. Actually, I say the exact same thing. Right? Like, if there’s only one loaf of bread, then people are more apt to fight over it than if you slice it and cut it up and you show all these cubes of bread and people realise that, Oh, we can each partake in and survive here together. It’s the way you frame some things, right? And yeah, it is about scarcity. It is about resources, very much about resources, the haves and the have nots. But it’s also about the innovation of the have nots. Right? A lot of times when you think about innovation, it is in spaces of where you have the technology to tinker with, and that’s where closing the digital divide gets tricky, right? It’s it’s not just in a device. It’s in that intellectual capacity to to build and grow things. But you have to have something to to, to begin with. And something can be hope. Something can be intellect, It can be curiosity. It can be pure rebellion of getting kicked out of school knowing that you’re in the top 1%, you know, So it can be a lot of things and it just takes a little bit of effort to dig into what is that thing for each person? Um, because as much as we’re a collective, we’re individuals and we each come with a perspective. That’s what makes it all beautiful. That’s why I love working with the groups that we work in, right? This open recognition, it really breaks down some of those silos and brings together some very intelligent, open hearted, good people to bring their resources to bear on these complex problems. What better could you hope for?

Doug Belshaw: [00:33:11] Yeah, I feel like the open recognition group of people. Do you come at this from a position of a of abundance? And that’s an interesting way of framing it because usually when it’s like badges for workforce skills, it’s almost the subtext of that is and AI is coming for your job, so if you don’t keep up, then you’re going to be without a job. Whereas the open recognition broadly summarised, glossing over lots of stuff kind of approach is more like, look, you are you you are part of a network, part of a community, you have unique skills. You also have skills which overlap with other people’s skills. How can we together showcase the the knowledge, skills, behaviours, individual differences, commonalities together in such a way that we can tell our story and and Serge Ravi, who I know you’ve come across Krystal and Laura you certainly have talks about how you need a thread of someone else’s story and experience to be able to tell your own, like you’re weaving a life together. And I love that. And I feel like that’s something I didn’t understand when I was younger.

Krystal Rawls: [00:34:22] Yeah. The wisdom of having lived it, though, right? I tell my young person, you know, I have a 20 year old. I tell her things all the time. And in the wisdom of Gen Z, they ignore a lot of what I say. But, you know, we live and we learn and we live and we learn together is what makes what I feel is most important about open recognition, about education, about the socioeconomic lift of education, about workforce development most directly, Right. If the purpose and point of workforce development is to prepare people for the jobs of the future, for technologies, for innovation, for the world of work to keep us all moving forward, then I would say open is better than closed, be it open recognition, be it closed minded, be it, you know, open is just better than closed. And so in my work in workforce development. I say be open to new technologies and look to see where other skills and other ways of knowing complement the technology. It doesn’t have to give over all ways of knowing. A really cool story I heard recently about the use of I was at a Los Angeles Economic Development Council panel that I sat on, and one of the I remember her name was Val, and her company is Storyfile. And it’s like collecting the stories of people so that their families and other people can hear them later. And I’m like, Yeah, like that, right? How about languages and cultures that may disappear that we now have the technology as we still have their elders, some of our elders with us to record their stories and their languages. And have that forever to guide us, whereas right now we’ve lost so much. In culture, in just histories of coming together that this is this could be a game changer for knowledge, right? Instead of losing the knowledge of our indigenous people and our ancestors, we could use it for good in our future learning.

Doug Belshaw: [00:36:38] For sure.

Laura Hilliger: [00:36:39] YeahAnd you know what you said earlier about the helping people not be afraid of these new technologies and dealing with the fear. And I think the the the only way to get to that is exactly what you’re doing, which is, you know, helping people to use these technologies in creative ways and innovative ways so that they can tell their stories and not have that fear anymore. And I, I think I definitely think that, um, those of us in EdTech, I think a lot about what is our responsibilities in the realm of AI and like new, new technologies because we’re, I feel like the educational technology community is always sort of at the forefront of figuring out what does this mean for society? And, and sometimes I think, you know, like, technology is moving so quickly. Are we the EdTech community? Are we fulfilling our responsibility to to young people, to students? Are we moving quickly enough? Are we, you know, getting these points across in a way that not only helps with workforce development, but like the the Self-actualisation piece of education?

Krystal Rawls: [00:37:52] So, um, you know, maybe we are, maybe we aren’t. We’ll see, right? I mean, there’s that reality. We often think, oh, the tech’s moving too fast or medicine’s moving too fast or this is moving too fast. But you know, without those polio vaccines, we’d have a lot more children who didn’t survive, you know? So, I don’t know, Um, with technology, I tend to lean into the cultural elements of how can we use it to build on what’s there. But I also. To think that things like the story I just said about how we might be able to preserve indigenous stories and stuff, but we also have to respect those cultures that might not want their story preserved that way. And in that we learn that technology is not the answer to every problem, and maybe we force ourselves to learn those stories in a different way instead of using the tech. You know, I mean, maybe they highlight areas that the tech’s just not going to do it. The tech might be able to generate art, but is the tech is the art going to be able to generate the story behind it? The thing that made, you know, my artist friend paint that particular picture, I don’t know.

Krystal Rawls: [00:39:04] But we’ll see. You know, we can talk on our Apple watches now. And, you know, George Jetson is like not TV anymore. We have two way communicators. So I just think that in our use of technology, we don’t forget our humanity. We can allow it to enhance our communication. Without technology. How would we have survived Covid, for example? A lot of people didn’t. They didn’t have access to information on how to get help. They didn’t have this one bit of technology to connect them to their families. Right. And people did not thrive in isolation. So are we fulfilling our responsibility to the next generation as much as any human can, as we seek to thrive together? You know, we we move forward so that we don’t stagnate and die. We move forward together. And some will accept and some will reject. You know, I don’t see compact computers out there anymore. You know, people aren’t necessarily I’m sure somebody uses doors in the world somewhere, but not really. Right. So we we move forward to thrive. And so I think that we will fulfil our obligation to society in as much as we seek to continue to move forward as a collective.

Doug Belshaw: [00:40:24] And I think in terms of coming full circle in this conversation earlier on, you were talking about how you make sure that the community is involved in any evaluative activities that you perform as part of your grant making and whatever. And being a liberal libertarian, I can’t even say that word liberatory educator. And so a lot of it is the mindset with new technologies and making sure that you kind of can think about creative adoption of them. But also a lot of it is to make sure the right voices are involved in ensuring that it’s they’re equitable. And what I appreciate and we’ve still got a long way to go, but what I appreciate about the world now compared to like when I was my son’s age, was that there’s actually a little bit of thought given to how this might impact people other than straight white guys. And for me, that’s been a massive journey. In terms of you talked about Decentring earlier and we were involved in a conversation the other day talking about Decentring as well. And and it’s a it’s a massive learning curve. And some people don’t want to go on that learning curve. There’s plenty of people in the US, UK, Germany, elsewhere who don’t want to go on that journey, on that journey. But I’m hoping that everyone listens. This who listens to this podcast is willing to go on that journey and continue going on as well because it’s easy to to get and think that you’ve come to the end of that journey rather than that it continues as a particular technology then comes out and another one kind of fades into the background, be it Dos or, you know. Right.

Krystal Rawls: [00:42:04] Yeah.

Krystal Rawls: [00:42:05] I love talking to you folks. It’s always great. It’s always mind opening and it’s and it’s fun to share, right? It’s always fun to share these how experiences shape us. And again, right back to open recognition. Our experiences shape us just as much as our work life, just as much as our academic life. And they’re not necessarily only our academic and work life. Our experiences are a lot of things. Yeah.

Laura Hilliger: [00:42:36] Shall we call it? I feel like. I feel like that was a really nice end, a nice, a nice way to wrap up the. The episode was such a lovely, a lovely comment. I always enjoyed speaking with you as well. Krystal, I think you just bring so many interesting stories. I learned from you every single time I talk to you and I really enjoy it. So thank you for coming on.

Doug Belshaw: [00:43:01] Yeah, maybe next time we can talk a little bit about open recognition. And we kind of alluded to it there and we’ve we’ve talked about in previous seasons and stuff, but maybe we can get back to that in a in a future episode that you come on in season. What are we on Season seven, come back in the future?

Krystal Rawls: [00:43:18] Is this where I can say, well, you know, I’ll be at Badge Summit and at the Epic Conference in Vienna so we can talk about open recognition all we like at either of those venues because they’re both lovely spaces to discuss exactly what this work looks like.

Doug Belshaw: [00:43:34] Perfect. Thanks, Krystal!

Krystal Rawls: [00:43:37] All right!