Postmodernism as a Lens for Education

Visual representation of Rolin Moe presentation by Giulia Forsythe. CC BY 4.0

The practice and research of education has long been tied to pragmatism. The work of John Dewey in the early days of education research and policy development (as a progressive education reformist) as well as his functional psychologist practice has created a foundation where the study of education as well as its implementation is rooted in analysis of systems, instruments and best practices.

What do we lose/miss/forget when pragmatism is the overwhelming lens we use to view education? In the early 20th Century Dewey saw pragmatism as a lever for social justice and equity through the education apparatus, a New Deal or Great Society view of education as a mechanism of upward mobility has been replaced with a view of educational pragmatism as linked to jobs, careers and professions. There are numerous reasons for the shift (economic, political, sociocultural, historical), but the notion of education as a public good benefitting a public sphere is not only in question but in serious jeopardy.

Postmodernism is not The Way to view education, but it provides one suitable viewpoint from which to question dominant assumptions on the development, implementation and analysis of education from local to global levels.

The goal of my research using postmodernism as a lens for research is to highlight some of the consistent assumptions made not only by those within the dominant paradigm, but also from those doing subculture research whose assumptions often go unnoticed or even celebrated (i.e., when They say they will save the world they are wrong, but when We say it We Are Right).

Existing Work & Artifacts Using the Postmodernism Lens for Analyzing Education

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truth over Pragmatism over Zeal (presentation at #dLRN conference via LINK Research Lab)

OER as Open Edutainment Resource (presentation at OLC’s #et4online Conference)

A Critical Look at Open Content, Branded Content and How Both Affect the OER Movement (journal article via Learning, Media & Technology)