Technology: driver, solution or symptom?. Martin Oliver London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education, & Higher Education Academy. Overview. A familiar problem: technology and change Three accounts of the relationship between technology and change Driver Solution Symptom
London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education, &
Higher Education Academy
One side-effect of rapid technological progress and the rhetoric that dominates policy is the continuing but elusive suggestion that technology can ‘transform the ways we teach and learn’ (DfES, 2005)
Conole, Smith & White, 2007
In an expert roundtable conducted by Demos, one participant used a telling analogy to describe the current predicament of the higher education sector: ‘This seminar feels a bit like sitting with a group of record industry executives in 1999.’
Technology undermined certain business models that sustained the music industry, but the threat was not to music itself, only to the way that current business models worked.
The implications for universities are enormous. Open and collaborative learning and research might seem a threat to universities (since both can be done outside such institutions) but it can also emphasise their importance. The noise of information and knowledge needs filtering; students need guidance and expertise. They also need the ‘brand value’ of institutions and the validation they provide.
Bradwell, 2009, p25
If that’s all Universities are needed for – sifting and branding – we might as well give up and hand our work over to Wikipedia right now
…and crashed a space shuttle, and so on
Obviously silly, but of the same rhetorical form
“rather than being empirically and theoretically informed, the debate can be likened to an academic form of a 'moral panic’”
Bennett, Maton & Kervin, 2008
…although it’s interesting to see http://www.universityofutopia.org/
…where did this all start? (Pop quiz!)
…whatever the educational problem is, technology hasn’t solved it yet
In the film "Groundhog Day", the protagonist is forced to experience the events of a single day over and over again. He is free to act in any way he chooses, but whatever he does the day always finishes in the same way.
Part of the fascination of this predicament is the awful familiarity of this experience: so often one feels caught in a flow of events which will unfold in an entirely predictable way.
People who have been involved over any length of time with educational technology will recognise this experience, which seems characterised by a cyclical failure to learn from the past. We are frequently excited by the promise of a revolution in education, through the implementation of technology. We have the technology today, and tomorrow we confidently expect to see the widespread effects of its implementation. Yet, curiously, tomorrow never comes. We can point to several previous cycles of high expectation about an emerging technology, followed by proportionate disappointment, with radio, film, television, teaching machines and artificial intelligence.
(Not in Towards a Unified e-Learning Strategy… sadly…)
“Imagine you are a college student during the first week of school. Your General Chemistry class has 150 students. The first assignment requires you to find study partners. No problem.”
…because shyness, problems with registry, dyslexia, work and family commitments don’t count…?
“Hearing Shakespeare for the first time. The intonatins of a foreign language. When students listen, they learn, that’s the power of Wimba Voice”
Thank goodness we don’t have to worry about any of that pesky constructivism stuff any more!
There is no shortage of evangelism about the potential of the Internet to transform education today. In part such evangelism is motivated by an understandable conviction that many teachers and parents are unbelievers and have yet to hear the word. The transformative power of the Internet for education should not be in doubt. But neither is it doubted by many of those who fear its effects. […] Technophiles and technophobes alike are inclined to essentialise. Technology, they say, cannot be resisted: it will work itself out for good or ill.
Thinking of technology as something other and objectified, on this view not only misunderstand the machine: it misconceives human being.
E-learning is often talked about as a “trojan mouse”, which teachers let into their practice without realizing that it will require them to rethink not just how they use particular hardware or software, but all of what they do.
(Sharpe and Oliver, 2007, p.49)
…or at least, me…