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Cassidy Puckett    

Emory University Sociology Professor & Author of "Redefining Geek: Bias and the Five Hidden Habits of Tech-Savvy Teens"

Cassidy Puckett is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at Emory University. Using a mixed-methods approach, she examines the relationship between technological change and inequality in education, occupations, and healthcare. Her first book, "Redefining Geek: Bias and the Five Hidden Habits of Tech-Savvy Teens" (U. Chicago Press, 2022) examines the meaning of technological skill, calling into question digital divide rhetoric that suggests gender, racial, and socioeconomic inequities in technology education and occupations are based on differences in skill. Challenging this idea, the book presents a new way to understand what it means to be good with technology and highlights how gatekeeping shapes the inequitable recognition and reward of technological talent. Dr. Puckett’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the MacArthur Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Her work has appeared in academic journals including Harvard Educational Review, Social Science Computer Review, Social Science and Medicine, and Qualitative Sociology. She received her PhD in Sociology from Northwestern and master’s in Learning, Design and Technology from Stanford.

Speech Topics

How Teens Adapt to Technological Change and What it Means for Our Future

We live in a world of continual technological change. New digital tools demand new skills, making the ability to adapt more necessary than ever. Some (but not all) young people are very good at adapting to change, so what is it that helps them be so adaptable? And, what do differences in this ability mean for the future of society? In this provocative talk, you will learn about five key - but until now hidden - habits that help techie teens continually learn how to use new technologies. You will hear how to measure and develop these habits, based on findings from a decade-long study involving over 2,000 teens. Finally, you will learn how gender, racial, and socioeconomic differences in these habits shape inequality today—with some surprising findings that will have you rethink ideas about the digital divide. The talk will help anyone invested in our technological future in education, labor market, and beyond, including technology designers, school district leaders, educators, parents, workforce development agencies, philanthropists, policymakers and others understand to invest in children’s digital learning and support a more equitable future.

Attendee Results:

  • Rethink what it means to be a geek and learn about the five hidden habits of tech-savvy teens
  • Understand how to observe and measure the five technology learning habits
  • See what the habits look like in action through a concrete and powerful example.
  • Learn a new way of understanding the digital divide based on gender, racial, and socioeconomic differences in teens’ habits
  • Create an action plan for developing, recognizing, and rewarding teens’ habits to create a more equitable future

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