Liked Some Thoughts As We Go Through Our Internet Technology Awakening | Kin Lane (Kin Lane)

Don’t get me wrong, I am one of the new found awakened beings, not one of the ones that have been pushing back on things from the beginning. I have only begun to wake up to the damage being done about five years ago—-alongside some other awakening around gender and racism. However, I happened to be married to someone who has been critical since day one with her blog Hack Education, and happen to know other folks like Tressie McMillan Cottom (@ tressiemcphd), David Columbia (@dgolumbia), Bill Fitzgerald (@funnymonkey), Chris Gilliard (@hypervisible), Tim Maughan (@timmaughan), and others who have been highly critical all along. Even with these voices ringing in my ear over the last decade, I have struggled with clearly seeing a path forward and coming to terms with the damage I’ve incited as part of my work as the API Evangelist.

Liked HEWN, No. 337 (

I’m not sure why folks want me to tell them what’s praiseworthy. As I said on Twitter: get your own moral compass. Look at your own practices, at the practices of those around you. And do better.

But more importantly, let’s be clear: the technology industry — education technology or otherwise — does not need my validation. It needs criticism. It needs criticism that refuses to come with sugar-coating and a few plaudits. There are not “two sides” to this issue that deserve equal time. There are not “two sides” — some good and some bad ed-tech — that exist in any sort of equal measure.

Bookmarked The 100 Worst Ed-Tech Debacles of the Decade by Audrey Watters (Hack Education)

For the past ten years, I have written a lengthy year-end series, documenting some of the dominant narratives and trends in education technology. I think it is worthwhile, as the decade draws to a close, to review those stories and to see how much (or how little) things have changed. You can read the series here: 2010201120122013201420152016201720182019.

I thought for a good long while about how best to summarize this decade, and inspired by the folks at The Verge, who published a list of “The 84 biggest flops, fails, and dead dreams of the decade in tech,” I decided to do something similar: chronicle for you a decade of ed-tech failures and fuck-ups and flawed ideas.

Oh yes, I’m sure you can come up with some rousing successes and some triumphant moments that made you thrilled about the 2010s and that give you hope for “the future of education.” Good for you. But that’s not my job. (And honestly, it’s probably not your job either.)

Audrey Watters closes the decade with an epic post documenting the worst of ed-tech. Full of ‘I forgot about …’ and ‘whatever happened to …’, this post is an important provocation to read and reflect upon in regards to the use of educational technology. Along with Watters’ review of the trends for 2019, she leaves a lot to stop and think about.

In a separate post, Ryan Boren collects together a number responses to Watters’ post.

Bookmarked EdTech Resistance (code acts in education)

If these are signals of an emerging edtechlash, then educators, decision-makers and the edtech industry would benefit from being engaged in the key issues that are now emerging, namely that:

  • private sector influence and outsourcing is perceived to be detrimental to public education
  • lack of edtech diversity may reproduce the pedagogic assumptions of engineers
  • student distrust of engineering solutions and continuing trust in human interactions as central to education
  • there may be bad science behind positive industry and investor PR
  • new data protection regulations question how easily student ‘consent’ can be assumed when the balance of power is unequal
  • algorithmic ‘accuracy’ is being exposed as deeply flawed and full of biases
  • algorithmic flaws can lead to devastating consequences at huge costs to individuals, the public, and institutions
  • increasingly invasive surveillance proposals raise new ethical and human rights issues that are likely to be acted upon in coming years.

We should not and cannot ignore these tensions and challenges. They are early signals of resistance ahead for edtech which need to be engaged with before they turn to public outrage. By paying attention to and acting on edtech resistances it may be possible to create education systems, curricula and practices that are fair and trustworthy. It is important not to allow edtech resistance to metamorphose into resistance to education itself.

In a presentation for EdTech KnowHow conference, Stavanger, Norway, 26 September 2019, Ben Williamson discusses the topic of resistance to technology in education. This is a useful post as it provides a broad survey of the different ways that people have been critically engaging in this space. Whether it be general questions about technology, concern over diversity, push back from students, scepticism from investors, new regulations and issues with algorithms. I think what this highlights the need to be better informed when engaging with technology.
Bookmarked Unlock Critical Thinking Skills with BreakoutEDU – EdTechTeam (EdTechTeam)

Give students the opportunity to collaborate with peers while using critical-thinking skills to solve clues and puzzles to open a variety of locks.

Kimberly Broton discusses how her students created their own BreakoutEDU experiences.
I am currently churning my way through A Handmaid’s Tale. One of the things that I am left wondering is who decided on all the technological solutions? Whether it be the cattle prods or severing arms, we do not get insight into the thinking behind such decisions, Gideon’s Josef Mengele.

This is one of the things about technology, whether good or bad. So much of the work that goes into managing and understanding it is assumed. It is incorporated into everyday life, magically maintained by modern day magicians. The challenge we all have is to stop every now and then to pull back the curtain and reflect upon the biases and intent really at play.a

Bookmarked Imagination as a Precision Tool for Change (Sean Michael Morris)

The project of critical pedagogy is not simply the project of improving education, or of learning, but rather the project of becoming more fully human.

Sean Michael Morris discuss the process of critical change and transformation. He unpacks power and agency, suggesting that where we need to start is with imagination.

Instead of looking for another tool besides Turnitin for plagiarism, agency asks us to intervene upon the assumptions, acceptances, and adaptations that surround the agreement we generally hold that plagiarism is both unquestionably a problem and inevitable in every student population. Also, that we are helpless to its cresting wave.

And to look that deeply at our assumptions requires a willingness to believe in monsters washed up on the Chilean shore. We must not only want to see the world as it could be, to be intrigued by its possibilities, but we must be able to see it as it could be otherwise.

Bookmarked What is “Critical Literacy” in Education? (W. Ian O'Byrne)

Critical literacy is one of the key perspectives that informs my teaching, research, and thinking. It informs all of the work that I do, and fundamentally impacts everything from the ways in which I view the world, to the very tweets that I send out on a daily basis. It plays a role in guiding my research…I even built an entire digital literacy & education program based on the tenets of critical literacy.

Ian O’Byrne discusses the concept of critical literacy. This includes unpacking questions of truth and the dialetic critique. I really enjoy O’Byrne’s posts defining key elements in education, including empowerment and critical pedagogy. Another interesting approach to explanation is Amy Burvall’s ‘Creativity Tips’ series.
Replied to Teaching Critical Thinking? These Mythbusters Activities Will Help by Bill Ferriter (The Tempered Radical)

Our goal is to help students recognize that gaps in thinking aren’t something to be afraid of.  They are something to be openly acknowledged and then addressed through deliberate attempts to gather more information.

Bill this is fantastic idea. I like the use of a graphic organiser to scaffold the thinking. It reminds me of the Zoom In routine, where it is impossible to ‘know’ what the image is, therefore forcing student to justify their interpretations.