ERIC Number: ED524067
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
The Censor, the Computer, and the Textbook
Zoeller, Geoffrey W., Jr.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick
Education in a free society requires that students are provided with a provocative and thoughtful curriculum and learning materials that will prepare them to function as productive adult citizens in a diverse and changing world. Textbooks and curricular materials that engage the rising generation in the study of social ideas, problems, and issues are often targets for censorship. Advocates of the "new" media apply pressure to have computer-based instructional (CBI) materials utilized in schools, and make claims of CBI's superiority over other materials and forms of instruction. Despite the extravagant claims made for computer-based instruction pointing to its alleged superiority over other instructional media, a study of the research and documented cases of censorship demonstrates that there are no censorship incidents directed at computer programs, whereas the censorship of school textbooks, school library books, and other "conventional" curriculum materials is epidemic. This raises fundamental questions about the limitations and realistic uses of computer-based instruction in the schools of a democratic society. Policy makers and administrators who are responsible for making decisions about the curriculum in public schools are often under pressure to implement new technology-based instructional programs, with the hope that computer technology will somehow improve the educational process at reduced cost and greater efficiency. With the advent 30 years ago of relatively inexpensive microcomputers, there has been a dramatic increase in the accessibility to and use of CBI materials in America's schools. Textbooks, anthologies, literary works of fiction and non-fiction, and other print materials have been the traditional materials used for classroom instruction, and those that have been developed to inform and challenge students with the social problems that confront our world have often been targeted for censorship. Extravagant claims have been made that the computer is a more effective and efficient instructional tool than traditional print materials and might even be able to replace the teacher. Yet these claims have not been substantiated in the research literature. This study investigates why computer-based instruction has been virtually immune from the eyes and arms of the censor, whereas censorship continues to impact the textbook and other print media with the exception of the workbook and worksheet. Is the computer being used predominantly as an electronic workbook? This question raises profound implications for the schools in a free society. The study finds that over the past 30 years there has not been a single documented case of censorship directed at computer-based instructional materials, while censorship targeting other instructional materials continues unabated, with hundreds of censorship attempts recorded in the professional literature each year. The study also reveals virtually no mention of censorship in professional research studies, journals, and research handbooks. This lack of research underscores the disturbing avoidance by educational professionals and researchers to engage those who would censor instructional materials for the nation's students. Perhaps the true import of this study is as a "call to arms" for those who are willing to see the significant implications to a free society posed by censorship and the long-term dilution of the curriculum provided to our country's children. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml.
Descriptors: Social Problems, Textbooks, Printed Materials, Democracy, Workbooks, Worksheets, School Libraries, Anthologies, Educational Media, Censorship, Curriculum, Computer Uses in Education, Educational Technology, Academic Freedom, Library Materials, Educational History
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A