Magazine article Multicultural Education

Technology and Multiculturalism: A Special Issue

Magazine article Multicultural Education

Technology and Multiculturalism: A Special Issue

Article excerpt

New technologies promise to bridge gaps, both geographic and cultural. Few would doubt the immense potential that innovative technologies such as computerbased communication (e.g., e-mail, the World Wide Web) and computer-assisted composition (word-processing, multimedia development) offer education professionals. Over the last two decades, computers, software, and accessible networks have become prominent symbols of advancement and positive change in American public schools. This technology has been developed and disseminated coincidentally with increased discussion about, among other issues, the cognitive theory of construct-ivism and an increased awareness of the need for multicultural studies as a basic component of K-12 and pre-service teacher education. The combination of new communications technologies and new perspectives on cognition and learning offers students an opportunity to explore highly politicized and deeply personal subjects such as religious faith, sexual orientation topics, and inter-ethnic/generational differences (to name but a few).

Many educators (and certainly many computer hardware and software manufacturers) posit that the Internet (specifically the World Wide Web) will allow students to construct very personalized knowledge from the variety of Web-based resources available, that they will make use of educational software to gain exposure to a variety of cultural perspectives at an individualized pace, and that students and teachers alike will benefit from the ability to access and interact with people at a great distance, both geographic and cultural. Whether any of these assertions are true remains to be seen, but case-based evidence suggests that an increasing number of teachers are well into the process of experimenting with integrating these new technologies into their classrooms. …

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