Ed-Tech Policy Letter to the Editor

Essay’s ‘App Generation’ Description Misrepresents Book, Authors Say

May 13, 2014 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

As the authors of The App Generation, we were disappointed to read Jody Passanisi’s mischaracterization of our book in her online First Person essay on a separate book, danah boyd’s It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens.

At the end of her review, Ms. Passanisi compares our book to Ms. Boyd’s and asserts that we “have blamed technology for all that is (perceived to be) wrong with kids these days.”

This is a blatant misrepresentation of our work and suggests that Ms. Passanisi has not, in fact, read our book. If she had, she would have seen that we are careful to present both the pros and cons associated with young people’s technology use in three key areas of life experience: identity, intimacy, and imagination. Moreover, a central contrast we present in the book illustrates our argument that it is not technology that shapes young people, but how they use it.

If young people use technology as a jumping-off point into new experiences and modes of self-expression, we call that “app-enabling.” However, if technology becomes the sole means by which youths make their life decisions, big or small, we call such use “app-dependent.” In fact, readers have asked us for recommendations of apps that are enabling, as well as for information on which uses of an app push a user toward dependence.

In short, we believe it is unfair to accuse us of being either techno-determinists or technophobes, as Ms. Passanisi has done in her essay.

Katie Davis

Assistant Professor

The Information School

University of Washington

Seattle, Wash.

Howard Gardner

Professor of Cognition and Education

Harvard Graduate School of Education

Cambridge, Mass.

A version of this article appeared in the May 14, 2014 edition of Education Week as Essay’s ‘App Generation’ Description Misrepresents Book, Authors Say


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Stronger Together: Integrating Social and Emotional Supports in an Equity-Based MTSS
Decades of research have shown that when schools implement evidence-based social and emotional supports and programming, academic achievement increases. The impact of these supports – particularly for students of color, students from low-income communities, English
Content provided by Illuminate Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Whole Child Approach to Supporting Positive Student Behavior 
To improve student behavior, it’s important to look at the root causes. Social-emotional learning may play a preventative role.

A whole child approach can proactively support positive student behaviors.

Join this webinar to learn how.
Content provided by Panorama
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Why Retaining Education Leaders of Color Is Key for Student Success
Today, in the United States roughly 53 percent of our public school students are young people of color, while approximately 80 percent of the educators who lead their classrooms, schools, and districts are white. Racial

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Ed-Tech Policy Reported Essay Remote Learning Isn’t Just for Emergencies
Schools were less prepared for digital learning than they thought they were.
5 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Ed-Tech Policy Opinion Why Are We Turning Our Backs on Remote Learning?
Neither the detractors nor defenders of remote learning are fully in the right, argues one superintendent.
Theresa Rouse
5 min read
Illustration of girl working on computer at home.
Ed-Tech Policy Letter to the Editor Using E-Rate to Address the Homework Gap
The FCC's E-rate program can provide relief to many families, says this letter author from the Internet Society.
1 min read
Ed-Tech Policy Q&A Acting FCC Chair: The 'Homework Gap' Is an 'Especially Cruel' Reality During the Pandemic
Under the new leadership of Jessica Rosenworcel, the FCC is exploring broadening the E-Rate to cover home-connectivity needs.
5 min read
Internet connectivity doesn't reach all the houses
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock/Getty