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Media and Education in the Digital Age

Concepts, Assessments, Subversions

Matteo Stocchetti

This book is an invitation to informed and critical participation in the current debate on the role of digital technology in education and a comprehensive introduction to the most relevant issues in this debate. After an early wave of enthusiasm about the emancipative opportunities of the digital «revolution» in education, recent contributions invite caution, if not scepticism. This collection rejects extreme interpretations and establishes a conceptual framework for the critical questioning of this role in terms of concepts, assessments and subversions. This book offers conceptual tools, ideas and insights for further research. It also provides motivation and information to foster active participation in debates and politics and encourages teachers, parents and learners to take part in the making of the future of our societies.
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Emancipative Technology in Formal Education: The Case for ‘Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)


Gloria Gómez-Diago


In a world where the widespread use of the Internet offers to many citizens the technological opportunity to actively participate in the creation of Cyber culture, downloading and using applications and software for different purposes, the use of privative software in formal education has no sense because it imposes unnecessary barriers and constraints on learning practices and the freedom of students. Based on the results of a pilot study, in this chapter I argue for the importance of Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) as a suitable alternative model to foster innovative learning, democratic education and ultimately an emancipative pedagogy.

Discussing research in education technology, Selwyn and Facer (2013) argue for the need of a critical perspective capable of going beyond the mere description of “best practices” or the documentation of lived digital cultures as cultural studies offer. Going further is possible by evaluating and analyzing, instead of just describing or reciting.

In this chapter, and in an effort to take this suggestion seriously, I discuss the main problems associated with the use of privative software in formal education from a communicative perspective. In my approach, the unit of analysis is not the single user but the context of interaction and the outcomes resulting from it (Gómez-Diago, 2013a). As Lievrouw observes (2011), a ‘contextual’ approach is very needed not just in technology and education research but also in media research. In this way, people’s engagement with media can...

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