New information and communication technologies, as they are integrated into socially relevant and conceptually sound teaching and learning practices, provide excellent opportunities to facilitate and reveal the learning and development of students. As important as the explicit and/or intentional instruction of teachers (in the form of resources and activities created specifically for the students to interact with) are the new possibilities that technologies offer for expanding the classroom through both space and time. This expansion is bidirectional, as it invites the students’ “everyday lives” into the classroom and the classroom into the students’ everyday lives, allowing for increased communication and interaction as well as providing new ways for teachers to “know their students” and vice versa. For over 10 years, Project Stretch, an educational initiative housed at the CUNY Graduate Center, has explored how technologies can be integrated into education to better facilitate student engagement, critical thinking and literacy. This paper explores, through the project’s experience in NYC public schools and community centers, the potential for expanding the classroom with technology, including some common obstacles and possible means of overcoming them. A sociohistorical framework informs the discussion, in which Web 2.0 tools specifically are explored as a means of breaking the boundaries of the classroom walls, granting students and teachers alike new levels and qualities of access to each other and the subject matter.
|Keywords:||Expanded Classroom, Urban Education, Sociohistorical Theory, Web 2.0|
Assistant Project Director, Frank Stanton/Andrew Heiskell Center for Public Policy in Telecommunications and Information Systems, CUNY Graduate Center, New York, NY, USA