chapter  2
24 Pages

JUST ANOTHER TOOL?

To begin this inquiry into the implications of IT instruction in public education, this chapter first provides an overview of John Dewey’s progressive philosophy of education as a touchstone for analyzing current technology practices in school classrooms.2 Next, it discusses technology pedagogy in relation to perceptions of inequalities of gender and race in the district, drawing attention to the risk of occluding difference under commodification regimes. It then documents those pedagogies that my interviewees and informants find valuable and evaluates these exemplars in relation to the ambitions of progressive education. The combination of these elements — technology practices of classroom instruction, perceptions of social inequality, and expressions of value — reveals that the goals of public education as an institution are becoming increasingly narrow in spite of the liberating promises of globalization and IT. As a corrective, I offer a conceptually different approach to technology pedagogy, one that perceives computers as media instead of tools and that introduces elements of structural flexibility into what are currently ideologically inflexible regimes in public education.3