Reinventing Schools

By: Andrew Gitlin  

The US has again the highest wealth inequality in its history. This foundational trouble and the related troubles in the decline of democracies and the health of the environment suggest that doing nothing will likely result in rising violence, authoritarian leaders, and environmental events that could threaten the well being of humans, especially the poor. Given the dire consequences of these troubles something must be done. Schools, as currently constructed, are unlikely to make much of a difference and therefore they need to be reinvented to act on and confront societal troubles. A first step in reinventing schools is to fundamentally shift from a functionalist relation with society where schools only look to satisfy the status quo to a reconstructivist view that focuses on schools role in contributing to the production of a better society. Spaces of difference are one possibility to facilitate this restructuring. Spaces of difference, for example, can facilitate this restructuring because they provide a connection between school space and outside space such as communities such that a third space is formed that embraces differences (e.g., wealth inequality). Furthermore, spaces of difference are affordable because technology can easily “build” such virtual spaces without the unrealistic cost of brick and mortar. These technological spaces bring together schools and society and thereby reflect a wide array of interests that can challenge the status quo and confront the troubles of wealth, democracy and the environment. A final step is to transform these spaces from passive to activist orientations.

Technology, Schools, Society, Spaces, Activism
Technologies in Knowledge Sharing
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Prof. Andrew Gitlin

Professor, Department of Lifelong Education, Administration, and Policy, University of Georgia, United States
Georgia, United States

Andrew Gitlin’s current work has focused on looking back at some of the most important and influential projects coming out of critical theory including critical pedagogy, action research, as well as commonsense notions of therapy and learning. These extensions to critical theory bring into play notions of space and the use of progressive technology.