A Cyber-Apple for the Teacher: A Case Study of Anti-Hegemonic Adult Education Practices in a Cyber-Education Environment

Mark Federman (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada) and Marilyn Laiken (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 77
EISBN13: 9781613500040|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-942-7.ch005
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In an age seemingly defined by near-ubiquitous access to Internet-based communication, there is little wonder that adult educators are turning to online, distance education as a means to reach their participants. In the traditional academy, post-secondary institutions increasingly include online courses and programs as elements, or comprising the entirety, of both undergraduate and graduate degrees (Allen & Seaman, 2006). Even in the realm of non-formal adult education, “hacktivism1” has become one of the most effective mechanisms through which engagement for social change – especially on a global scale – occurs (Day, 2004; Ganesh, Zoller & Cheney, 2005). Ironically, rather than truly integrating the philosophy of emancipatory and transformative adult education, cyber-education environments as typically implemented throughout the academy, overwhelmingly – if unwittingly – reproduce and reinforce the hegemony of traditional teacher-pupil power relations. By examining the mechanism of hegemony, and its pervasive presence in contemporary pedagogical technologies, this chapter will demonstrate how organized power is maintained through these mechanisms. In contrast, a case will be offered that demonstrates how engaged intellectuals can reconstruct the cyber-education environment in order to challenge the pretensions of entrenched academic power, and manifest adult education principles. In particular, the case will explore how the many years of research on how adults learn can be applied with the use of technology, so that the cyber learning milieu is as dynamic, personal and collaborative as the physical presence classroom context can be in the hands of a skilled adult educator.
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