Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Teaching is a political act

I came across this paper that traces the history of LOGO in terms of its function in most schools. Agalianos argues that, while the creators of LOGO envisioned it as a tool for children and teachers to subvert the institutional controls on learning and teaching by inventing their own individualized math curricula, it was introduced into schools in the 80s at a time when the dominant institutional philosophy was swinging from relatively progressive to conservative. In this "back to basics" climate, which continues today, LOGO wasn't rejected, but integrated into the standards and required as its own subject separate from the rest of the curriculum. Its function has ended up in many schools as no more than a "turtle graphics" program, a fun environment for kids to practice problem-solving skills. The tension between the possibilities inherent in LOGO and the constraints of the over-scheduled and fragmented school environment has been a preoccupation of mine since I began teaching technology. What is the purpose and larger context of what I'm teaching? For now I'll just keep asking.

No comments: