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From Neil Selwyn's Distrusting Educational Technology:

While some appetite was shown for oppositional thought during the 1980s and 1990s (see, for example, the writings of Michael Apple, CA Bowers, Hank Bromley, Larry Cuban, Ivor Goodson and Neil Postman), the vast majority of academic discussion of educational technology has tended to lie somewhere between a disinterested acceptance and a deep-rooted belief in the inherent benefits of technology for education. The framing of digital technology as a generally ‘good thing’ has become an orthodoxy within education thinking – that is, part of a shared consensus where digital technologies have become “gradually accepted and virtually un-noticed”, often without “those who are affected registering the fact” (Lefebvre 1981/ 2007, p. 78). It could be argued that educational technology is now something that appears to barely require thinking about at all. In many ways, the use of digital technology in educational settings has reached a state of being ‘ideologically invisible’ (Nye 2007), with the basic rationality of educational technology accepted largely without question.


This normalization of educational technology certainly requires critical attention. While the hopes, beliefs and promises that surround digital technology may have a strong intuitive resonance, the commonsensical ‘stories’ of digital technology that are repeated and ‘retold’ throughout educational discussions and debates need to be problematized. Indeed, despite its comforting overtones one should always be highly suspicious of commonsensical thinking.

I'm really interested in this "normalization," something that I agree is quite troubling. It is not so simple as we've all come to agree that technology belongs in the classroom (that was how the radio show Marketplace framed a survey it took of parents' opinions on ed-tech). Why do we not ask questions? It is, as Seywyn points out citing Adorno, because of the "overbearing matter-of-factness" of ed-tech and its accompanying ideology.

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Audrey Watters


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