Tag Archives: Power

Favourite tweets! Justice and equity or command and control

Remember, our technologies are ideas; they are practices

Audrey Watters makes a plea for us to question our (education) technologies – un-blackbox for forensic examination, there is a real threat.

Pinterest! Hand and Trump but who’s holding the cards?

Pinned to Education and Digital Cultures: A petition to stop US President Donald Trump’s making an official state visit to Britain had gained more than a million signatures by Monday, an an apparent backlash to Trump’s controversial travel ban. http://ift.tt/2jLXmPx

This topical issue reminds me of a particular perspective and affordance of the internet described by Hand (2008) as a “tool for democratisation”:

The temporality of the Net allows for instantaneous relations. That is, the Net provides the architecture for a continuous feedback loop between citizen and state

Is the ability to sign this petition beneficial to UK citizens or not? Does it give us only the illusion that we have a say, or is it democracy in dynamic digital action? Threat, or promise? Ineffectual?

How audible and valued is the voice of the student? After the annual student surveys many universities run advertising campaigns to prove they are listening to their students, “You said, we did …” This is the voice of capitalism and commerce as institutions have to compete for student numbers. Audrey Watters regards the voice of the student as muted and controlled.

Instagram! Times Ed crammed with tech

The latest edition of TES is crammed with features involving techology in some way. This isn’t surprising since the digital is now implicit and entwined in so much of our lives. As Bill Thompson remarked in this podcasthe is wary of institutions that need to develop their ‘digital’ strategy – there should be no need to prepend strategy with digital.

In the TES this week there are articles on data protection and security, giant Ed-tech companies and their mission to convince education of the indispensable nature of their software, an app to measure pupils’ resilience and a report on Ed Scheninger, luddite turned ed-tech proselyte.

So interesting to read these articles in the light of Bayne’s paper, What’s the matter with TEL? and thoughts about the work of Audrey Watters.

An app named Lengo, devised to encourage and measure students’ soft skills is described as being able to “instil appropriate behaviour in students”. Is this desirable? Who chooses what constitutes a “desired skill or character trait”? Who deems what is appropriate behaviour? Can this really be measured and what happens to the data and the “meaningful feedback”? This seems to be technology leading quasi-education, another company contributing to the commercialisation of education involving questionable surveillance of students.

Ed Scheninger’s perspective on technology for education is in marked contrast to Bayne’s plea for educationalists to become “critical protagonists in wider debates on the new forms of education, subjectivity, society and culture worked-through by contemporary technological change” (p.18). Whilst he acknowledges that it wasn’t just the technology that had wrought great changes in his institution, technology is still regarded in an instrumentalist and essentialist light in his account:

“We made sure that if technology is not going to improve a lesson or learner outcomes, then we don’t use it.”

This seems to me to exemplify what Bayne means by “the ontological isolation of the human from its material contexts” (p.18).


Tweet! A great resource from @audreywatters The Week in Robots https://t.co/EZJxXud3OP #mscedc

from http://twitter.com/fleurhills
via IFTTT http://twitter.com/fleurhills/status/823182353329750017

Whenever I think of Audrey Watters I picture her lifting a corner of the carpet to see what has been hidden underneath. We should all take a look!

Find her blog Hack Education on “the history of the future of Education Technology”: