Educational technologies can offer many affordances; nevertheless, using these tools can equally create barriers, negating any potential benefits. My Twitter handle is @LoveEdTech, and I do love EdTech, but it is more of a love-hate relationship knowing the raw imperfections and challenges in using EdTech to support diverse learning experiences. Morris and Stommel (2017) argued that tools are often deceptively promoted, and educators should research their value. These affordances and barriers are becoming relatively commonplace; nevertheless, rarely do we have opportunities to dig deeper into more critical issues surrounding the use of these tools.
Participation in a group research project and subsequent sharing event allowed for the scrutiny of learning experiences and preliminary research findings surrounding various critical issues. Significant issues of social justice, including neocolonialism, gender exclusion, intercultural underrepresentation, access inequities, academic elitism, data harvesting, and the corporatization of education, were exposed. Each session inspired, while some evoked disgust, anger, and sadness for the realities of many, and often, the ignorance of those in places of privilege.
Weller (2018) emphasized patterns of anticipation and anti-climatic stagnation when technologies throughout history promised to revolutionize education. The presentations reinforced this sadly cyclic history. Questioning and challenging systems, tools, and glorified platforms as saviours of education are the business of anyone who believes everyone has a right to equitable learning opportunities. In my small way, I can overturn rocks, pick at the layers and set out to discover more in my research. Borton’s (1970) “What-So What-Now What” model can help me to examine these issues in a new light as I approach writing my final research paper.
After all, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” (Dyer, n.d.)
Borton, T. (1970) Reach, Touch and Teach. New York: McGraw-Hill Paperbacks.
Dyer, W. (n.d.). BrainyQuote.com. https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/wayne_dyer_384143
Morris, S.M., & Stommel, J. (2017, June 15). A Guide for Resisting Edtech: the Case against Turnitin. Hybrid Pedagogy. https://hybridpedagogy.org/resisting-edtech/
Weller, M. (2018a). Twenty years of ed-tech. Educause Review Online, 53(4), pp. 34-48. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2018/7/twenty-years-of-edtech