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  • Pedagogic Fixation

    Christo Sims

    Chapter from the book: Stocchetti, M. 2020. The Digital Age and Its Discontents: Critical Reflections in Education.

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    This chapter is a reprint of chapter 4 of my book Disruptive fixation: school reform and the pitfalls of techno-idealism (Princeton University Press, 2017). The book examines how technologically cutting-edge approaches to education reform become and remain an especially appealing means for promoting equitable social change despite decades of disappointing results. The book also examines what these interventions manage to accomplish, politically and for whom, even as they routinely fail to realize hoped-for outcomes. One of the themes of the book is that well-intentioned reformers regularly produce ‘fixations’ about the worlds they aspire to improve. These fixations tend to overestimate the beneficent and transformative potential of new technologies, while also underestimating and occluding much of what reformers cannot measure and control with their new tools. This chapter explores these themes in relation to the design and deployment of ostensibly new and improved approaches to pedagogy. The chapter shows how a focus on the pedagogic potentials of new technologies helps engender considerable enthusiasm and support for an educational reform initiative, while also making reformers ill-equipped to handle what they will encounter once they launch their intervention in the world. In response to these unanticipated and destabilizing forces, reformers look for ways to quickly stabilize their project and, in doing so, they ironically remake many of the pedagogic processes and outcomes that they had aspired to transform.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Sims, C. 2020. Pedagogic Fixation. In: Stocchetti, M (ed.), The Digital Age and Its Discontents. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.33134/HUP-4-10
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    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Additional Information

    Published on Aug. 11, 2020

    DOI
    https://doi.org/10.33134/HUP-4-10


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