Press "Enter" to skip to content

The Question Concerning Education Technology

It’s been so long since I wrote anything, but I just posted something up at Medium (which I will post in full here later I think). It’s about education technology, surveillance, humans as fodder for computers, poetry and Pressbooks. It goes something like this:

During this year of the pandemic, teachers, and students have faced challenges and threats few of us ever imagined. I’ve had conversations about this with dozens of people in the Pressbooks ecosystem — faculty, librarians, administrators, students — all grappling with a transformed universe, one mediated more than ever before by technology.

I’ve lived some of this change in my personal life, watching my two young daughters navigate uncertainty, restrictions, Zoom classes, and concern about their grandparents, teachers, and their mother who works in healthcare. “How did online classes go this week,” I asked in January. Both daughters answered in unison, “Terrible.”

At Pressbooks, we went remote quickly in March 2020, and while it hasn’t been the easiest we adapted relatively well, though our office plants are suffering. Hopefully they will get more human interaction soon.

But for teachers and their students this has been an especially trying time. Whether it’s online-video-class-headaches, digital proctoring software controversies, getting access to hardware and reliable internet, hard-to-find digital resources, chat rooms, online homework systems, access codes, or renewed reliance on the LMS, 2020 (and 2021 so far) was the year of the edtech deep-end, where so many had to learn to swim the hard way.

Is it time to ask: What do we want?

As we start to emerge from the chaos of the past year, when so many critical decisions were foisted upon us so fast, it’s a good time to reflect on how education has changed. In particular, it’s a good time for us to step back and think about what we, as a community who believe in the power of education, want out of our education technology. [More on Medium …]