Teaching today is ubiquitously tied to technology; from K-12 through graduate school, today's classroom is increasingly digital, and the call to make it more so grows. Institutional resources are increasingly directed toward classroom digital initiatives, libraries are merged with academic computing departments, and the instructional technologist has begun to occupy a central role on many campuses. New degree programs are popping up. Digital humanities is a newly, yet nebulously, defined discipline. As economic crisis continues to hold the country in its grip for a second year (at least), teachers and students are subjected to additional pressure to make themselves “competitive” as workers in a narrowly defined marketplace that demands technological skills as an end rather than a means of education and learning. Much has already been published about the use of technology in the classroom, including a 2002 cluster of articles in Radical Teacher. It is unlikely that we will see any real decoupling of technology from teaching and learning in our future or lifetime, any more so than it is likely that we see it in any other aspect of our society or culture at large. Given the fact that ignoring or rejecting technology wholesale is not a viable or palatable option for most of us, we must therefore continue to think actively about its use, insist on approaching it with a critical eye, and ask questions at every turn about whose interests are being served, who benefits from this implementation of technology, and why, when we choose to engage with technology in teaching and learning.
Radical Teacher, the independent magazine for educational workers at all levels and in every kind of institution focusing on critical teaching practice, the political economy of education, and institutional struggles, solicits articles for an upcoming special issue devoted to teaching and technology. We welcome articles that focus centrally on critiques of teaching and technology, problematizations of technology, both in the classroom and at a macro, institutional level, and articles that contribute to an increasing understanding of how to use technology for radical political change and resistance in a range of settings. We are especially interested in discussions of ways such work, when addressed in educational contexts, deepens students’ understanding of the social realities that affect their lives and shapes their willed ability to intervene in these realities. Focused on teaching and anchored in concrete examples, articles may concern an entire course, a unit within a course, or a project that takes place outside the traditional classroom. We especially invite submissions from contingent faculty, graduate students, librarians, and academic technologists who are often particularly marshalled in support of digital teaching initiatives. Possible topics might include:
• The implications of changing forms of digital labor in the academic environment, including demands to build technology skills, learn software packages, contribute intellectual material to university-owned and/or commercial databases, creating and populating online learning environments, etc.
• Commodification of intellectual material, including the modularization and “just in time” delivery of teaching material via commercial courseware on university-owned servers.
• The surveillance and control of teachers and students when learning takes place in digital environments
• The ethical implications of the underlying political and ethical logics we teach when we use technology in our instruction and research
• Limitations on material and other types of access; or when “One Laptop Per Child” is simply not enough.
• Demands on instructors to provide vocational training for careers to students; training them to use commercial software packages and delivering a labor force that skilled in technology, as opposed to having support, space and resources for the teaching of academic material.
• The lopsided funding of technology projects over all else in academic institutions over the past decade and a half, and the collusion of academic institutions with high-tech business on joint ventures and for-profit activities.
• The relationship between contingent labor and on-line teaching.
• The relationship between technology and assessment.
• How to harness technologies for their empowering potential, including supporting and training students to be active users of technology.
• Classroom deployments of digital tools such as blogs and microblogs (e.g., Twitter), wikis, video, and other digital and new media technologies to enhance or encourage radical teaching.
• Classroom and institutional use of open source and noncommercial softwares (e.g., Drupal) as alternatives to privatized and for-profit technologies.
Inquiries, proposals, and drafts should be sent to ----
Emily Drabinski, J. Elizabeth Clark and Sarah Roberts, editors, at email@example.com. Completed submissions are due September 15, 2010. Essays for Radical Teacher should be approximately 4,000 to 5,000 words and written in accessible prose. For more information, see "Submission Guidelines,"www.radicalteacher.org. Radical Teacher is published by the University of Illinois Press.
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