📓 Technology is never neutral

Technology always has a focus, whether it be student, teacher or system. One of the interesting things to consider is when different perspectives compete within the one software package.

Technology is never neutral. An incredibly clever teacher might be able to pull a technology a little bit between the vertices in the triangle, but that doesn’t change the equation. Educators need to decide upon whom they wish to bestow agency. I’m in Papert’s corner. It is best for learners and enjoys the greatest return on investment.source

Doug Belshaw adds a different take on this, suggesting that it either supports or pushes against the status quo:

There’s no such thing as a neutral system, so every time you design a new technology-based system, you’re designing to reinforce or subvert existing power structures.source

He uses the example of Open Badges to illustrate this.

Using the example of trowels used for masonry, Virginia Eubanks explains that the affordances impact the user’s experience:


Technology makes learning more doable

Fourth Revolution Regulations

Gary Coleman discusses some of the challenges associated with the Fourth Revolution around regulations:

With so many regulatory questions surfacing as new business models are launched using exponential technologies, some business owners are taking a proactive role. For instance, technology companies are working with the EU to reshape privacy rules that impact their data mining business models. The drone industry has been successful in moving EU rules to a risk-based system – that is, allowing for waivers on a case-by-case basis versus waiting for a new set of regulations to be written for each scenario.

How can we regulate the digital revolution?

Uncoachable?

Peter DeWitt reflects on the question, are some teachers uncoachable?

The truth is that at some point it is no longer the coaches job to work with a teacher if that teacher doesn’t want to work with the coach. At some point it is the job of the administrator to chime in and work with the teacher. Coaches are not supposed to be evaluators. The other day a very astute coach told me they feel like they are the sheriff without a gun.

Are Some Coaches Uncoachable?

What stands out is the difference between having a coach, which is about growth and development, and being a leader, which is making sure due process is followed.

Edtech’s inability to imagine the future

Benjamin Doxtdater reflects on the current state of EdTech and wonders if instead of teachers being scared that technology companies just aren’t ready for the future:

Perhaps it’s Edtech, not teachers, that lags far behind in its narrow discussion of technology. Rather than leading the way forward, Edtech is stuck in the past and irrelevant, especially to those of us who care about the intersection of technology and power.

On Edtech’s inability to imagine the future

Unbundling Education

Like its close cousin Disruption, unbundling has been a favourite philosophy of the silicon valley start up. It has often been applied to education (even, erm, by me). This piece for example boldly states “The bundle of knowledge and certification that have long-defined higher education is coming apart”. The idea has some merit – if education moves online, do we need all the services: content production, examination, accreditation, support, etc to come from one provider?

Martin Weller on Critically examining unbundling

Writing a Newsletter

There are many different presentation platforms. One that has come to the surface of late is the newsletter:

A newsletter can be a powerful tool as you not only make sense of your thinking, but also share this work with others. I believe that the process of reflection is involved as you create and publish a newsletter. I often have colleagues suggest that an RSS or Twitter feed, or subscriptions to their website is the same thing as a regular newsletter. IMHO, it is not the same thing. A good newsletter serves a specific purpose, and includes synthesis and reflection for you or your audience. You are actively curating content online

Ian O’Byrne on Three questions to consider as you develop an awesome newsletter

Trust matters!

Seth Godin highlights what matters most, trust. Too often we try and cheat this or avoid it, but without trust all else fails.

The real asset you’re building is trust.source

Julian Stodd argues that trust is something cultivated like a garden:

You cannot demand trust, but you may be able to create the conditions where it can emerge, and grow. We know from the Landscape of Trust research that ‘trust’ is held in relationships more so than contracts, so it’s perhaps in the way we forge, and validate, and maintain, those relationships that we are best placed to take action.

It is a little like gardening: you tend to the soil, and the seeds germinate. You do not directly make them germinate. If the conditions are right, they will grow.source

Education and Democracy

For him democracy is not a normal situation, i.e., it is not a way in which the police order exists, but rather occurs in the interruption of the order in the name of equality—which is why he says that democracy is sporadic. Furthermore, democratization for Rancière is not something that is done to others; it is something that people can only do themselves. Rancière connects this to the question of emancipation

Gert Biesta Good Education in an Age of Measurement p.125

Twitter as an idea, not just a platform

On one level, big social platforms borrowing features from one another has a long history in software development. Facebook alone took the “like” from Tumblr, the “check in” from Foursquare, “trending” from Twitter, and the “story” from Snapchat. But on another level, the recent moves to integrate real-time public posts show the internet not copying Twitter so much as they are absorbing it. Twitter is being unbundled before our eyes, and the implications are fascinating. source