Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Pursuit of the Ideal

Let’s step out of the controlling gaze of the panopticon and imagine a technological space that can transcend assessment: liberating any person to express both their individuality and their culture without the expectancy of conforming to a ‘white’ way of thinking. In this ideal space, an individual can finally break away from the ideologically oppressive mire left in the physical world and enter into a space that will welcome difference and thrive upon unrestrictive expression for the sake of literacy. That is the dream, at least.

That was the dream put forth in through the large-scale computer literacy project by the Clinton-Gore administration that Cynthia Self mentions in her article “technology and literacy: A story about the perils of not paying attention.” Selfe notes that technology and literacy and inextricable, and that social implementations of technology tends to reinforce divisions of literacy and the digital divide. The idealism of thinking that placing computers in front of students (typically privileged students) will open up equal opportunities is misguided since oppressive ideologies still guide this technological implementation in education. According to Selfe, the potential lies in local attention to technology and literacy.

Grabill, Banks, Walton each discuss the potential of technological spaces and they also discuss the power of these spaces. Grabill states outright that access to computers is an ‘issue of the justice’ in which the egalitarian dream of universal literacy is dependent. Meanwhile, Banks and Walton describe this space as white dominated. Thus, these articles in dialogue, portray technological spaces as empowering but ultimately restrictive. Additionally, both Banks and Walton discuss the problem, but how do we really open the space? Can spaces like BlackPlanet really diffuse white ideology? Or these spaces further alienate such space from mainstream white-controlled technological spaces?

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