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“Can’t You Just Know?”

Critical Research as Praxis

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Tricia M. Kress

Tilting at Windmills

Hope as an Ontological Need when Tilting the Machine

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Tricia M. Kress

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Tricia M. Kress

In this chapter, I use auto/ethnography, sociocultural theories, identity theory and critical pedagogy to make sense of disparities in the ways in which technology is (or isn’t) integrated into urban school curricula. First, I draw on my own experiences as a digital native at home, as a student in a technological high school and as a college instructor to illuminate the differences between how technology is taught in schools and how it is integrated into daily life outside of schools. Next, I re-examine the findings of a study I conducted about teachers’ identities and technology integration practices in an English/Technology curriculum-writing group at a college in New York City. Finally, I introduce my work with the Young Researchers’ Club, a group of students who conducted critical social research in an under-resourced and technology sparse “failing” school in Boston. By bringing these data sources into conversation with each other, I illuminate 1) the contradictions between what it means to be technologically fluent outside of school and to learn to use technology in school, 2) the ways in which technology has been prioritized as a mechanism for control over learning in some urban urban schools, 3) how the literature on technology integration is woefully ill-equipped to tackle what technology integration means in a high-poverty urban school and the implications this has for educational equity, and 4) how high quality learning environments may be afforded for urban students despite the absence of technology resources.

We Saved the Best for You

Letters of Hope, Imagination and Wisdom for 21st Century Educators

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Edited by Tricia M. Kress and Robert Lake

As standardization and “accountability” have continued to increase in the 21st century, educators and scholars of education have become increasingly frustrated. Yet as frustrated as we are, it is essential that we not send to our our students, children, grandchildren the message that the past was better and they “should have been there.” Instead, we must render a clear vision of what can be. Indeed, where would we be without the vision we have been freely given to us from great scholars, philosophers, and artists, as well as our own teachers, friends, neighbors, and family? We are indebted to carry forward the legacy of these torchbearers to present and future educators.
This book is a collection of letters to 21st century educators of all age levels and content areas. It includes chapters from more than 50 contributors representing leading names in the field of education, emerging scholars of education, and gifted practitioners in schools. It has been compiled with the goal of fulfilling our responsibility to share with the next generation of educators our vision of the future, just as our predecessors and role models shared theirs with us. Informed by the past but oriented toward the future, this collection aims to inspire in present and future educators hope, wisdom and imagination for addressing the educational challenges shaped by bureaucratic, economic and cultural forces.
Authors such as Nel Noddings, Sonia Nieto, Sandy Grande, Riane Eisler, Mike Rose, William Schubert, William Reynolds, and many more speak directly to their readers, building a relationship with a scholarly backbone, and encouraging: “we saved the best for you” because “the best” is the world you will create.
Click here to see the table of contents and full list of contributors to this volume.

“Clankers,” “Darwinists,” and Criticality

Encouraging Sociological Imagination vis-à-vis Historicity with the Steampunk Novel Leviathan

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Tricia M. Kress and Patricia Patrissy

This chapter explores the critical literacy potential of the steampunk literature genre by examining Leviathan, the young adult steampunk novel written by Scott Westerfeld. Often subsumed under the genres of science or speculative fiction, steampunk is a genre all its own that takes as its point of departure the Victorian era when steam technology ruled. By reinterpreting history, steampunk literature demonstrates that what we think, what we do, and how we act, right now in the present as in the past, matters and contributes to the creation of an unforeseen future. As critical literature steampunk fosters sociological imagination by confronting readers with long-lasting social issues that are just as pressing today as they were over a century ago. The authors demonstrate the potential of steampunk by showing how Leviathan raises numerous themes that are ripe for engaging students’ critical and social imaginations. The book highlights gender roles and class struggle; it raises questions about nations’ sense of exceptionalism, and it calls into question man’s relationship with technology and man’s relationship with nature as well. The chapter concludes with a lesson idea for encouraging students to write their own historical countertexts.

Hope—Faith—Fortitude→ Praxis

Retheorizing U.S. Schooling with Erich Fromm

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Tricia M. Kress and Patricia M. Patrissy

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Edited by Patricia Paugh, Tricia M. Kress and Robert Lake

This edited volume supports implementation of a critical literacy of popular culture for new times. It explores popular and media texts that are meaningful to youth and their lives. It questions how these texts position youth as literate social practitioners. Based on theories of Critical and New Literacies that encourage questioning of social norms, the chapters challenge an audience of teachers, teacher educators, and literacy focused scholars in higher education to creatively integrate popular and media texts into their curriculum. Focal texts include science fiction, dystopian and other youth central novels, picture books that disrupt traditional narratives, graphic novels, video-games, other arts-based texts (film/novel hybrids) and even the lives of youth readers themselves as texts that offer rich possibilities for transformative literacy. Syllabi and concrete examples of classroom practices have been included by each chapter author.