Technology, human agency and Dewey's constructivism: Opening democratic spaces in virtual classrooms

Emery J. Hyslop-Margison


This article examines whether the ubiquitous presence of technology in schools negatively affects democratic learning by promoting instrumental rationality and, hence, reifying social reality. The author suggests that structural critiques of educational technology ignore the considerable impact of human agency on shaping related learning outcomes. By combining Dewey's constructivism with Internet technology, the article suggests student agency and participatory democratic learning are actually encouraged. Rather than condemning educational technology as necessarily socially reproductive, then, the author concludes that democratic educators should appropriate classroom technologies and utilise them in ways to promote the critical consciousness of students.

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