Bring the World to the Child
Technologies of Global Citizenship in American Education
296 pp., 6 x 9 in, 30 b&w photos
- Published: February 11, 2020
- Published: January 17, 2020
How, long before the advent of computers and the internet, educators used technology to help students become media-literate, future-ready, and world-minded citizens.
Today, educators, technology leaders, and policy makers promote the importance of “global,” “wired,” and “multimodal” learning; efforts to teach young people to become engaged global citizens and skilled users of media often go hand in hand. But the use of technology to bring students into closer contact with the outside world did not begin with the first computer in a classroom. In this book, Katie Day Good traces the roots of the digital era's “connected learning” and “global classrooms” to the first half of the twentieth century, when educators adopted a range of media and materials—including lantern slides, bulletin boards, radios, and film projectors—as what she terms “technologies of global citizenship.”
Good describes how progressive reformers in the early twentieth century made a case for deploying diverse media technologies in the classroom to promote cosmopolitanism and civic-minded learning. To “bring the world to the child,” these reformers praised not only new mechanical media—including stereoscopes, photography, and educational films—but also humbler forms of media, created by teachers and children, including scrapbooks, peace pageants, and pen pal correspondence. The goal was a “mediated cosmopolitanism,” teaching children to look outward onto a fast-changing world—and inward, at their own national greatness. Good argues that the public school system became a fraught site of global media reception, production, and exchange in American life, teaching children to engage with cultural differences while reinforcing hegemonic ideas about race, citizenship, and US-world relations.
“The internet was hardly the first classroom technology of 'connectedness.' In this history of educational media, Katie Day Good traces earlier claims about technology and global citizenship, and reminds us that as much as these devices were supposed to show students the world, so too were they about extending American power and influence.”
Audrey Watters, founder of Hack Education; author of The Monsters of Education Technology
“This history of educational media offers a vivid, fascinating, and at times sobering, picture of teachers, industry, and NGOs coming together a century ago to engage children in America's emerging and presumed moral leadership on a global stage. The reverberations continue to be felt, as Katie Day Good also makes clear, in today's media-saturated classrooms.”
John Willinsky, Khosla Family Professor of Education, Stanford University; author of The Intellectual Properties of Learning
“Bring the World to the Child is an original and compelling history of school media use in the first half of the twentieth century. Through deft and thoughtful readings of pageants, stereoscopes, and other neglected forms of media, Good provides a brilliant new interpretation of schools' efforts to promote global citizenship through media. This book is a unique contribution to our understanding of the intertwined histories of media technology and education in the United States.”
Victoria Cain, Associate Professor, Northeastern University; coauthor of Life on Display: Revolutionizing US Museums of Science and Natural History in the Twentieth Century
“Katie Day Good radically expands our understanding of educational technology, tracing its history back to the early twentieth century, and broadening its definition to include lantern slides, scrapbooks, pen pals, pageants, and toy exchanges. In the retelling, Good uncovers omissions and anxieties that continue to plague the introduction of new media to schools, from fears of children being rendered passive by too much staring at screens, to the prejudice embedded in Eurocentric ideas about tolerance and diversity.”
Alexandra Lange, author of The Design of Childhood: How the Material World Shapes Independent Kids