Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, boosters of digital educational technologies emphasized that these platforms are vital tools for cultivating global citizenship, connecting students across borders, and creating a participatory learning environment.
In Bring the World to the Child: Technologies of Global Citizenship in American Education
(MIT Press), Katie Day Good amply illustrates that there is little new about these promises of tech-enhanced education. She demonstrates that already at the turn of the twentieth century, education reformers and technology entrepreneurs promoted emerging media as the necessary tools for preparing America’s children for a century of movement, interconnection, and rapid change.
Good examines the promulgation of both hi-tech gadgets, such as lantern slides and stereoscopes, and low-tech innovations that reformers believed would open the wide world to children’s senses and liberate them from provincial ignorance. Good’s analytical focus is on how these purportedly cosmopolitan technological applications served to strengthen American power on the world stage and masked, reinforced, and excused domestic racial and ethnic disparities instead of confronting them.
Bring the World to the Child
is a thought-provoking and necessary read for anyone concerned about how the present necessity of online instruction exacerbates inequalities in education and technological access.
Katie Day Good
is Assistant Professor in the Department of Media, Journalism, and Film at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
Lance C. Thurner teaches history at Rutgers Newark. His research and writing address the production of knowledge, political subjectivities, and racial and national identities in eighteenth and nineteenth-century Mexico. He is broadly interested in the pedagogical applications of the digital humanities and the methods and politics of applying a global perspective to the history of science and medicine. More at http://empiresprogeny.org.