Literacy and Web-Based Education Essay by JPWrite

Literacy and Web-Based Education
A first-person essay of an educator's experiences with, and suggestions for direction in teaching literacy using the world wide web.
# 66972 | 2,522 words | 17 sources | MLA | 1998 | US

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The essay introduces Gayatri Spivak's term "subaltern" to describe those who do not have access to a computer and thus do not have access to the literacies of learning online. It makes the analogy of the world wide web to a post-colonial space -- an area conquered and developed by a certain group, and having the culture of that group imposed upon a larger population, and then having been abandoned by the conquerors, leaving the native group with an artificially grafted and imposed culture which they did not formerly know. The essay describes teaching literacy via the web to those without a computer background as a pedagogy of the oppressed. It cites statistics that show that the web is dominated by the U.S., embraced by Europe, and virtually unused by the vast majority of most of the globe's population. The essay discusses initiatives which might give a voice online to the subaltern. In conclusion, the writer suggests that until the non-western world is embraced by the world wide web, the potential of the web as an influence on global education will remain overlooked.

From the Paper:

"Here, though the issues involved are not simple, I want to try to explain the problem in straightforward terms. A number of scholars have demonstrated to us the complexity of access to discourse in learning environments; Lesley Rex, for example, recently completed a dissertation under the direction of Judith Green which uses discourse analysis to explore complications of access in a secondary English classroom. In Rex's study, General students had to learn to take up the spoken and written discourse practices of Gifted and Talented students to learn a rigorous academic curriculum. Imagine, now, if, beyond the issues of gaining opportunities to participate to become proficient identified by Rex, this school classroom was difficult to attend for students, either because they could not afford to participate or because they could not find the support they needed to be successful in their studies once they did manage to enroll. Even more to the point, what if the teacher might not be able to recognize their presence, even when they did attend? "

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