Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

J. Richard Stevens

Second Advisor

Shu-Ling Chen Berggreen

Third Advisor

Nabil Echchaibi

Fourth Advisor

Michele Moses

Fifth Advisor

Ricarose Roque

Abstract

The professional experience of K12 teachers in the United States is marked by transformation. The K12 classroom has been a consistent presence in the history of the U.S., with the specifics of the teacher’s role regularly transforming over time. With the spread of the internet and the increasing ubiquity of web-enabled digital devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets) to our social lives, K12 teacher’s in the current historical moment face a unique challenge. They must reckon with adjusting their instructional practice to account for the ways our increasing uses of digital media and technology have transformed the nature of social interaction in our world. Additionally, many teachers are increasingly concerned with the impact this pervasive connectivity has on the social development of their students. This project aims to explore the current experience of K12 teachers in the United States and apply new understandings towards resources and strategies for helping teachers promote democratic values of the importance of community-minded action for responsible social change.

This dissertation approaches understanding the experience of K12 teachers in the U.S. through multiple perspectives, including the works of John Dewey, macro-oriented social theory, the neoliberal incursion on the K12 classroom, current literature from the fields of media studies and education, and contemporary media theory. These perspectives will be brought into conversation through Stuart Hall’s concept of the “conjuncture.” The resulting analysis is then applied to qualitative field research with K12 teachers and educators, including in-depth interviews and participant observations. An inductive analysis is performed on the collected data and applied towards creating prototypes of resources and strategies for promoting democratic values for the 21st Century.

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