Banking on CS Education

On reading Friere’s take on the development and execution of pedagogy, two things stood out to me as most relevant to this course and the discussions we were having last week, dealing with two major themes.

The first is agency.  In his commentary on cultural action and conscientization, Friere remarks that applications of technology, while not inherently bad, are often “among thousands of directional signals in a technological Society that… hinder their capacity for critical thinking.”   His discussion of technology brought to mind the discussion that occurred last week during class, in particular the focus on technology as a tool for more efficient distraction, and the possibly illusory nature of the freedom that many technological devices allow.  His given example of street signs made me wonder:  What would Friere think of the GPS units that come standard on so many vehicles and cellular devices, and the lack of familiarity with the world we inhabit that they engender?


Second is the “banking” pedagogy with which we traditionally approach technological education.  I know that in the context of many programs meant to provide technological affordances to traditionally under served populations, there is very much an ethos of bringing non-technological peoples into the pre-established technological fold.  Often without engaging with a given population’s specific situation, or simply by giving lip service to the same, there is this pervasive idea in technological education that, if we simply drop off computers with a population and teach them a few things, they will simply begin to use technology like the “rest of the world,” and thus somehow be delivered from their unsatisfactory condition.  I wonder, what would a pedagogy focused on the synthesis of technological skills and revolutionary (as Friere uses the term), dialectic engagement with groups of people who are not in the technological mainstream look like?  What sort of technology might result from a program of that nature?

1 thought on “Banking on CS Education

  1. It would be interesting to give some training in technology to some oppressed people and just see what they come up with. The difficulty would be in giving the students good examples of made technological artifacts without influencing them in the manners of their oppressor. The students would need to feel free to question their teachers, not only in terms of the methods but also in the choice of work. Likewise the teacher would need to tune the curriculum in such a way that remains true to the material without forcing the student down a single predetermined path. How the teacher could accomplish this without coming across as paternalistic or patronizing is beyond me? I have a view of education that is inherently paternalistic, as I cannot even conceive of an education system that isn’t.

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