The internet as a context for participatory action research

  • Michael GlassmanEmail author


This paper suggests formal education must take new approaches to meet the social opportunities and challenges brought about through the information revolution, in particular access to new information, capabilities for new types of communities that can challenge place-based agendas, and distributed power and voice. The tools of the Internet are unique in that they offer new types of individual agency capable of ameliorating injustice and oppression that thrives in the shadows, but also leading to unprecedented social dangers. Tools that open up new possibilities for especially marginalized and oppressed to join together as a community and common voice, impacting the trajectory of their own lives. Internet tools can also remove many of the social guardrails restricting social activity, few if any in place social boundaries, allowing for painful and destructive discourse without consequence. Society must find a way to teach about the power and responsibilities of these new technologies without controlling them or those that use them to create new arenas of social activity. Participatory Action research (PAR) is proposed as one possible framework to formal education that meets these uniquely twenty-first century needs. PAR emerged mid-twentieth century in response to decolonization, social oppression and the need to help marginalized populations find voice and meaning in a fast changing world in ways that preserve their identities. PAR may offer an important path for educators and learners struggling to adapt to the new demands of the twenty-first century.


Internet Participatory action research Online community Democratic education Social justice 



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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational StudiesThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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