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Archive for October, 2017

EdTech Adrift

Posted by jturner56 on October 22, 2017

After 30+ years working with edtech it continues to perplex me. Why should this  area continue to be so problematical?

One perspective is provided by Lee and Broadie. In Failure of School Digital Education (2017) they note such failure as a widening gap between school authoritarianism, industrial structures and discrete subject separatism, with home laissez-faire approaches as business transformation continues apace.

Perhaps edtech in schools has not benefited as much from the shamans whose self-promotion, fortunate timing, future selling and ignoring of complexity has sought to enable a pro-technology agenda by ignoring social inequities, limitation of neo-liberal capitalism, techno-giant self-interest, and the potential of school as community. With the next, newest technology just around the corner there never ceases to be a hook to hang one’s hat.

It remains to be seen if such gaps continue to widen because of the ongoing commitment to edtechs in schools.

Teaching is a complex business. Parker J Palmer in The Courage to Teach  (1997) outlines that demands of working with large and complex subjects as one adjudicates to students requiring the wisdom of Solomon. Palmer sees that “we teach who we are”. To what extent do we want technology to take over this?

As someone who has taught with digital technologies as an integral part of my teaching for over three decades I certainly concur. But I would also argue that this part of being the teacher I want to be. I have built this on seeking to use digital to build stronger connections, opportunities and understanding of learning (around a very meta-cognitive ideology). For others this takes different paths. Is this unacceptable? Or part of the rich tapestry of a school as community.

Teacher left to their own devices should well remember that it is is people and cultural who determine digital survival – not technology (2017) The importance of community building – near and beyond – is likely to become an important consideration of whether greater separation of connection carries the day.

 

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