Bookmarked Books on the History of Education Technology by Audrey Watters (The Histories of Education Technology)
I have created a page that lists some of the titles. It does not include works of sociology or guides on instructional design. It also does not include "books from history," that is books written by notable historical figures in the field.
Replied to HEWN, No. 259 by Audrey Watters (Tinyletter)
The question of whose story gets told is always an interesting one, I suppose, particularly in science and technology. And I can’t help but wonder not only what happened to Crowder but what’s going to happen to the (education) technologists of today. How will they be remembered? (And what are the archival materials we’ll turn to to study them?)
This is a really important point Audrey. I have been spending time collecting and curating what updates and information from Google and Hapara, two platforms that are at the core of our learning strategy. So often ‘updates’ come in the form of a revision of support material. There are no dates or details, just how tos. Even if they try to tell a story, this is often quite disparate.
I have been thinking a bit about technology lately and how we define it. This short reflection is inspired in part by Audrey Watters, Marten Koomen and Ben Williamson. In the end, technology comes in many shapes and sizes.

📓 Technology is a System

Responding to yet another school shooting, Audrey Watters pushes back on those who argue that guns are not ‘ed-tech’. Instead she argues that what we define as ‘technology’ is the problem. She provides a quote from Ursula Franklin’s 1989 CBC Massey Lectures that captures this thinking:

Technology is not the sum of the artefacts, of the wheels and gears, of the rails and electronic transmitters. Technology is a system. It entails far more than its individual material components. Technology involves organization, procedures, symbols, new words, equations, and, most of all, a mindset.

Watters explains that this includes many elements within schools and should not be merely reduced to ‘computers’. In a second post, she explains that:

“Hardening schools” is an education technology endeavor, whether or not we take seriously anyone’s suggestions about giving teachers guns. For now, “hardening schools” explicitly calls for hardware like those items listed by Governor Scott: metal detectors and bulletproof windows, as well as surveillance cameras and various sensors that can detect gunfire. It also implies software – social media monitoring and predictive analytics tools, for example, that claim they can identify students “at risk” of violence or political extremism.

Coming at this problem from a different perspective, Genevieve Bell responded to questions of data and ‘neutrality’ in the Q&A associated with her Boyer Lectures. Given the example of the supposed innocence of a train timetable, she explained how Amazon use variables such as timetables to continually adjust the price of goods.

Listened Episode 77: Attention and Regrets (and the Tech Industry) from The Contrafabulists Podcast
In this episode, Kin and Audrey talk about the tech "regrets" industry, the attention economy, and more.
Kin Lane and Audrey Watters discuss the wave of people coming out in regret. The problem is not ‘attention’ or ‘addiction’ but about ‘markets’ and ‘survelliance’. They warn that we need to continue to be critical about how these new ‘humane’ companies are addressing issues such as privacy.
Bookmarked HEWN, No. 251 (TinyLetter)
Amazon’s the sleeper to watch. It’s the one I think is increasingly shaping how we think about learning and how we think about work – and central to both in the American ideology, of course – how we think about consumption. The company has made a few gestures at “the education space.” It’s acquired math worksheet company. It’s launched Amazon Inspire – what it calls “an open collaboration service” (or more accurately, a site where educators can find and download and probably some day buy digital lessons and resources). Amazon also remains the go-to site for purchasing textbooks online. And ed-tech evangelists, as they’re wont to do, continue to write silly things about Alexa and the future of the “voice-activated classroom”
Liked HEWN, No. 250 by Audrey Watters (TinyLetter)
The problems of technology – and the problems of the storytelling about the computing industry today, which seems to regularly turn to the worst science fiction for inspiration – is bound up in all this. There’s a strong desire to create, crown, and laud the Hero – a tendency that’s going to end pretty badly if we don’t start thinking about care and community (and carrier bags) and dial back this wretched fascination with weapons, destruction, and disruption.
Liked HEWN, No. 249 (TinyLetter)
Instead of experts, Zuckerberg says, it’s going to be up to “the community.” This disdain for experts is part of the problem we face now – culturally, politically, intellectually. There are researchers whose field of study is precisely this: how do people assess the credibility of information sources? How do technologies shape our notion of trust? How is trust gained, and how is trust violated? How is trust gamed? But why listen to experts when Facebook’s CEO can just get the engineers down the hall to cobble together some poll, and then tell the users this is what they wanted all along. Personalization.
Audrey Watters highlights yet another poor decision from Facebook to ignore experts in order to garners more ‘likes’ and supposed trust.
Liked PLATO and the History of Education Technology (That Wasn't) (Hack Education)
The Friendly Orange Glow is a history of PLATO – one that has long deserved to be told and that Dear does with meticulous care and detail. (The book was some three decades in the making.) But it’s also a history of why, following Sputnik, the US government came to fund educational computing. Its also – in between the lines, if you will – a history of why the locus of computing and educational computing specifically shifted to places like MIT, Xerox PARC, Stanford. The answer is not “because the technology was better” – not entirely. The answer has to do in part with funding – what changed when these educational computing efforts were no longer backed by federal money and part of Cold War era research but by venture capital. (Spoiler alert: it changes the timeline. It changes the culture. It changes the mission. It changes the technology.) And the answer has everything to do with power and ideology – with dogma.