The thesis of this paper is that there is an urgency to have active challenges to the dominant societal construction— “troubles”— (e.g., the huge wealth inequality, the decline of strong national democracies and the devastation of the environment) by reinventing schooling. These are troubles because there is broad global agreement on the importance of having small gaps between rich and poor, a healthy environment and strong democracies. To challenge these troubles, technology, when designed specifically to develop spaces of difference can play a foundational role. Technology can, for example, upon up “new spaces” that connect schools and communities (i.e., users and consumers of knowledge). These new spaces, in turn, by bringing together differing actors, are spaces of difference that can start a continuous process of “debate” and experimentation so vital to a reinventing ambition. Technology can also have a significant impact on individualism in the future by furthering forms of collectivism. A sharing economy , for example, represents a spectrum of attitudes, techniques and tools that promote collaboration, sharing aggregation, coordination advocacy and a host of other newly enabled types if social cooperation. It is a design frontier and a particularly fertile space of innovation. Schools as sharing communities, with the support of technology, move from a passive student approach where students and teachers community members primarily respond to standardized dictates, to activism that requires everyone working across virtual spaces of difference to create knowledge and add to the common good of societal knowledge.
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.