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Redekopp a tech_critique


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An overview of some

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Redekopp a tech_critique

  1. 1. An Educational Technology Critique Dr. R. Redekopp University of Manitoba
  2. 2. The Conversation <ul><li>Not a machine vs human argument </li></ul><ul><li>A discussion about the inherent values of any technology and how they influence society </li></ul><ul><li>What kind of bias/tendency does a technology bring? </li></ul><ul><li>What kind of society do we want? </li></ul><ul><li>How then should we educate? </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Conversation <ul><li>The context for human development is always a culture, never an isolated technology.  In the presence of computers, cultures might change and with them people's ways of learning and thinking.   </li></ul><ul><li>But if you want to understand (or influence) the change, you have to center your attention on the culture--not on the computer. (Papert, 1985, p. 55) </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Conversation <ul><li>The values and assumptions of technology tend to be those of the white, upper-middle class male. </li></ul><ul><li>... fast, efficient, unemotional, objective, see the parts more than the whole, progress is good, win/lose, .... </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Conversation <ul><li>Some perspectives: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>historical/philosophical discussions  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>analysis of language  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>multicultural experiences </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. The Conversation <ul><li>The reality: </li></ul><ul><li>Technology is culturally based and biased </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Conversation <ul><li>Metaphors </li></ul><ul><li>Language shapes how we think: </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;There's no word for that in English.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Language permits us to express ourselves, but it also places limits on what we are able to say&quot; (Highwater, 1981 p. 6) </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Conversation <ul><li>Robert Frost describes the power and limits of metaphor, and the importance of critically assessing the metaphors that guide education: </li></ul><ul><li>If you don't know the metaphor in its strengths and weaknesses you don't know how far you may expect to ride it and when it may break down with you.   </li></ul>
  9. 9. The Conversation <ul><li>Robert Frost </li></ul><ul><li>You are not safe in science; you are not safe in history. . . .  All metaphor breaks down somewhere. That is the beauty of it.  It is touch and go with the metaphor, and until you have lived with it long enough you don't know where it is going.  You don't know how much you can get out of it and when it will cease to yield.  It is a very living thing.  It is life itself . </li></ul>
  10. 10. The Conversation <ul><li>&quot;Time is money&quot; concept:   </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You're wasting my time;  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This gadget will save you hours of time;  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do you spend your time these days;  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You need to budget your time </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. The Conversation <ul><li>What are some education and schools metaphors?  </li></ul><ul><li>Students are: ??? </li></ul><ul><li>Schools are: ??? </li></ul>
  12. 12. The Conversation <ul><li>Metaphor and Language also determine how we DEFINE problems: </li></ul><ul><li>Schools are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>gardens </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>communities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>holding tanks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>fact dispensers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>socialization factories </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. The Conversation <ul><li>Metaphor and Language also determine how we DEFINE problems: </li></ul><ul><li>Students are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>containers to be filled with knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>animals to be trained </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>sponges that soak up knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>plants to be nurtured </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>stakeholders in the education business </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. The Conversation <ul><li>'Information Age' metaphor emphasizes : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rapid communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lots of information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Programs to sort the info </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. The Conversation <ul><li>'Information Age' metaphor ignores </li></ul><ul><ul><li>energy to make, distribute and run technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the limited modes/styles of communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the trivialization of 'knowledge' to Google facts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>if it takes more than 10 seconds to read/understand it is not worth it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>tl;dr </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. The Conversation <ul><li>the metaphor of the autonomous and independently rational individual has outlived its usefulness, </li></ul><ul><li>it is counterproductive to implementing change in education and in society.   </li></ul><ul><li>we are products of our social/cultural environment and have an inherent set of values </li></ul>
  17. 17. The Socio-Cultural Educator <ul><li>Using technology is an enculturation process and there are implications to this perspective on curriculum development and classroom teaching.   </li></ul>
  18. 18. The Socio-Cultural Educator <ul><li>Enculturation highlights three ideas:  </li></ul><ul><li>1. enculturating students to the world of technology;   </li></ul><ul><li>2. viewing the process of education as a process influenced by the cultural views of students;   </li></ul><ul><li>3. the need to question the assumptions and values that form the basis of the dominant education culture.   </li></ul>
  19. 19. The Socio-Cultural Educator <ul><li>the teacher and student are seen as individuals with: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>culturally shaped values, assumptions and ways of knowing,  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>who learn and communicate from within these frameworks. </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. The Socio-Cultural Educator <ul><li>Further: </li></ul><ul><li>Most inter-personal communication is about the relationship - not the words </li></ul><ul><li>Body language and voice tone comprise more than 80% of our communication. </li></ul>
  21. 21. The Socio-Cultural Educator <ul><li>Body language/voice and technology: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can emoticons be a substitute? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can we communicate only in facts? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is Facebook more than factoids? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can Twitter 'communicate'? </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. The Technology <ul><li>Our experience with technology may run counter to how we generally view the world and society </li></ul><ul><li>Yet, we are compelled to continue unquestioningly. </li></ul>
  23. 23. The Technology <ul><li>But a technology has its own impact! </li></ul><ul><li>McLuhan - the mere existence of TV causes societal change and organization: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>passivity (sit down, shut up and watch me) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>homogenized thought </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>limited view (chosen by the director) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>less complexity and nuance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>more 'thought control' by those with $$$$ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>corporations, gov't, military </li></ul></ul></ul>
  24. 24. The Technology <ul><li>Computers are NOT neutral. </li></ul><ul><li>They enhance: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>fa cts (explicit knowledge) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>mainly one way (or asynchronous) communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>efficiency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a 'correct' answer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>speed as a value </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>independence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a false sense of power </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>'progress is good' </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. The Technology <ul><li>Computers are NOT neutral. </li></ul><ul><li>They diminish: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>non-verbal communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>tacit (cultural) knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>physical (or multi-sense) experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>our questioning of data - who gathered it and why </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>our sense of local community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>our connection to the environment </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. The Technology <ul><li>Computers are NOT neutral. </li></ul><ul><li>Does it matter? </li></ul><ul><li>Does a technology: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>make us happier with life? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>give us more leisure? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>make us feel more secure? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>make life more sustainable? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>enhance our sense of community? </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. The Technology <ul><li>Computers are NOT neutral. </li></ul><ul><li>Does it matter? </li></ul><ul><li>Who benefits most from the technology? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>large companies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>banks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>surveillance institutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>gov't </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>military </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Useful for them vs sometimes convenient for us </li></ul>
  28. 28. The Technology <ul><li>Questions to ask of technologies: </li></ul>
  29. 29. The Technology <ul><li>Why is it hard to question technology? </li></ul><ul><li>Technologies are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ubiquitous and therefore hard to perceive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>are presented in a 'best case' scenario when introduced </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>designed to 'solve' a particular problem (while creating others) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>We are shown the promise and potential, but not the consequences </li></ul>
  30. 30. The Technology <ul><li>Why is it hard to question technology? </li></ul><ul><li>We are shown the promise and potential, but not the consequences : </li></ul><ul><li>  The United States Department of Education and the White House formally kicked off a new national center Friday whose aim is to identify, test, and help bring to market promising education technologies.  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  31. 31. The Technology <ul><li>Why is it hard to question technology? </li></ul><ul><li>By the time we see the consequences, the technology is entrenched and ... </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;We can't live without it&quot; </li></ul>
  32. 32. The Technology <ul><li>Question technology? </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Some considerations (adapted from Mander) </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Be skeptical of claims since they come from proponents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assume &quot;Guilty until proven innocent&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tech is not neutral - social, political and environmental consequences </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. The Technology <ul><li>Question technology? </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Some considerations (adapted from Mander) </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Flash in nice, but consequences are slow to appear </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal benefits should be a minor consideration. What are the larger implications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Any tech is only part of the larger 'megatechnology' </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does the tech serve smaller groups or larger industry interests? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Smaller is more 'democratic' (people controlled) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  34. 34. The Technology <ul><li>Question technology? </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Some considerations (adapted from Mander) </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Claims of &quot;more benefit than harm&quot; are 'bribery' </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reject the notion of &quot;what can't stop it&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don't' worship the technology - bring a balance! </li></ul></ul>