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Disruptive FixationSchool Reform and the Pitfalls of Techno-Idealism$
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Christo Sims

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691163987

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691163987.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Disruptive Fixation

Christo Sims

Princeton University Press

This book examines how a technologically cutting-edge philanthropic intervention—in this case, the attempt to redesign the American school for the twenty-first century—ended up mostly remaking the status quo. It presents a case study of the Downtown School for Design, Media, and Technology in Manhattan, New York City. The Downtown School was launched in 2009 by an expert team of media technology designers, academic specialists, and educational reformers with a single sixth grade class. The school was envisioned as a “school for digital kids,” and it would equitably and engagingly prepare young people for the increasingly interconnected and competitive world and job market of the twenty-first century. The book considers the problems encountered by the Downtown School and what perennial cycles of techno-philanthropism—what it calls disruptive fixations—manage to accomplish—politically and for whom—even as actual interventions often fall far short of their stated objectives.

Keywords:   educational reform, American school, media technology, New York City, techno-philanthropism, disruptive fixations, technology

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