The De-centering of Language in Pedagogy: Exploring the "Political-ness" of Information and Communication Technology in Education
This paper is to study the innovativeness of information and communication technology (ICT) in education as a "political" project from a postmodern perspective. Its central argument is that to affirm its pedagogical innovativeness, ICT needs to de-center language and disrupt the order of pedagogical hierarchy through the production of various forms of visual literacy. The paper begins with an analysis that education in its modernist enlightenment tradition used to privilege rationality to such an extent that knowledge could only be transmitted best through language as a medium. However, the paper argues, language presiding at the centre top hierarchy of pedagogy has become ineffective to meet the challenges posed by post-modernity. Two challenges will be analyzed in depth. Firstly, linguistic game rules produce differences rather than sameness according to Jacques Derrida, and as a result, liberate the Lyotardian libidos for learners to subvert the rules from within in terms of Jean Baudrillard's ecstatic implosion. Secondly, a new form of literacy, visualization, has been made available to learners with ICT advancement. The postmodern pedagogical use of ICT allows learners to play images and simulacra, fosters a Foucauldian "primal space of liberty", and opens a new horizon for autonomous self-creation in learning that allows creativity to triumph over rationality. It will then illustrate the potentials of ICT in de-centering language by cases reported in an international comparative study on innovative pedagogical practices using ICT across 28 countries. The empirical cases serve to demonstrate the effectiveness of the "political" praxis, that is, the extent to which visual literacy can help learners regain freedom from the domination of linguistic pedagogy. The paper concludes with a proposition to inform future research in the area that the innovativeness of ICT needs to be measured and appreciated in terms of a "political-ness" in transforming the traditional linguistic-domineering pedagogy.
Keywords: de-centering, information and communication technology (ICT), innovativeness, pedagogy, postmodernism, visualization
Mr Jack Yue
Lecturer, Division of Social Studies, City University of Hong Kong
Dr Allan Yuen
Head, Division of Information and Technology Studies, University of Hong Kong