Practice Papers

Document Type

Conference Paper


The formation of engineering students should prioritize both technical skills in engineering and a critical awareness of the designed world. This qualitative methods study aimed to analyze the extent to which a teaching approach, based on the in the integration of Freire’s critical pedagogy and Multimodal literacy frameworks, promotes first-year engineering students’ development of critical consciousness. Drawing from Paulo Freire’s work on critical pedagogy, the critical consciousness framework emphasizes that individuals and their practice in community awaken critical awareness of their surroundings, including the interconnectedness that exists between economic, social, political, cultural, historical, and environmental factors. To this end, we designed an activity for students to research and create videos that illustrate the interconnectedness that exists between these factors. The activity provided an opportunity to build, express, and shape their thoughts regarding the connections between the designed world and its implications on society (i.e., who wins, who loses, who is involved, etc.). Preliminary analysis identified that multimodal video production allowed students to investigate and express their own interpretations of socio-political and sustainability issues related to the use of precious minerals, specifically cobalt. Furthermore, students included descriptions of their proposals for reducing child labor abuse in cobalt mining and identified the environmental impacts of excessive use of cobalt in technological devices. Overall, this research suggests that integrating critical consciousness and multimodal literacies can be an effective strategy for promoting engineering students’ formation in terms of engineering design, literacy, sustainability, and social awareness.


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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.