Changing Narratives of Change: (Un)intended Consequences of Educational Technology Reform in Argentina
Argentina is among the first countries in Latin America, together with Uruguay, to implement a universal program for introducing one computer per child in classrooms. Focusing on secondary schools, it promises to distribute three million netbooks to every student and teacher in public institutions over a three-year period (2010–2012), of which over two million (67%) have been distributed by June 2012.1 The main rhetoric of the program is centered on social inclusion—hence the name “Conectar Igualdad” (translated as “Connect Equality”). Along with other policies of the Argentinean government in recent years, this initiative has defined a new policy scenario that pivots around egalitarianism and social justice. This chapter uses Conectar Igualdad as a way of reflecting on what it might mean to approach social inclusion through educational technology policies as a wider political action. We are particularly interested in examining how educational technology policies support, hinder, or change school reform and what might be the consequences of these political initiatives on schools, teachers, and young people themselves—almost as unintended consequences of the grander politics that animate their inception. Schools are already the object of explicit political interventions and play a key role in the social imagination as places for inclusion and social change, but we suggest that these “older” and more entrenched narratives are both implicitly and explicitly modified through narratives of technological change.
KeywordsEducational Technology Digital Technology Social Inclusion Digital Literacy Political Rhetoric
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