@Love[Hate]EdTech: Critical Reflection of Research Sharing Event

Photo by Nick Coleman on Unsplash

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.)

References

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

5 thoughts on “@Love[Hate]EdTech: Critical Reflection of Research Sharing Event

  1. Hi Lisa,

    I can empathize with the tension you are feeling towards education technology because I do feel the same way with the juxtaposition of the many opportunities and challenges of learning technologies. This course is an eye-opener that allowed us to go beyond the superficial and dig deeper to the heart of the matter- in your words “overturn rocks, pick at the layers, and set to discover…” As an optimist, I see more of the opportunities and for starter, our heightened awareness from our own research, team research, and the dialogue during the presentation made us more sensitive and hopefully more humbled to take part in the evolution of education in the 21st century. Edtech is an important player in the digital age, however, it needs conscientious human beings to make the decision. And it starts with the awareness that we and the digital tools we use are intricate and simple solutions that technology can fix the complex issues of education is where a missed opportunity comes from. So is it a love-hate relationship? I’d like you to consider a different spin- love-awareness relationship. 🙂

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful response Sharon, you have inspired me to re-examine my perspective on my love-hate relationship with EdTech. Perhaps a love-awareness parallel is more accurate in the description of my beliefs; after all, as Weller (2020) argued; we are collectively oblivious to the cyclic nature of our relationship with educational technologies. Disdain will not progress our awareness of the opportunities and constraints of EdTech, but curiosity may.

      Awake and curious,
      Lisa

      Weller, M. (2020). 25 Years of Ed Tech. Athabasca University Press. doi.org/10.15215/aupress/9781771993050.01

  2. Thank you both for your thoughtful reflections on relationships between humans and technology in the education context. These reflections help inform a critical awareness of important questions when encountering educational technologies.

    1. Thanks, Irwin, the relationships between humans and technology in any context is incredibly exciting with the rapid rise of innovations we are witnessing in our lifetimes.

      Educational contexts are not immune to the plague of critical issues that come with these modernizations; nevertheless, these contexts have the potential to be part of the solution. Aoun (2017) argued that in our increasingly artificially intelligent world, opportunities for ongoing education are needed to maintain our humanities. Being critically aware of the need for continued examination of critical issues surrounding educational technologies is relevant and essential.

      Aoun, J. E. (2017). Robot-Proof Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. The MIT Press; WorldCat.org. doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/11456.001.0001

  3. Hi Lisa,

    I find this so prevalent with technology as a whole. I have a love hate relationship with larger picture technology like my phone or the internet, as well as with more specific aspects of technology like educational technology. I think the fast paced world of technology doesn’t help us. We are always seeing something new, wanting to experience something new. We look to technology to fill needs, whether it’s entertainment or education.

    I see Sharon’s optimistic point that maybe it’s just awareness, or in my words, a need. Without our experiences we cannot evoke change. Maybe that’s our opportunity to change the “hate” by growing the awareness.

    Symonds (2000) pointed out that the quality of public education could be improved by utilizing the web to individualize instruction, creating learning opportunities for
    teachers to engage students beyond the classroom. The more we can provide and assist, the more the students can actually get out of it. When it comes to the significant issues, I guess we can by naive and attribute growing pains, but I think in reality, we need to push for better. Media is our tool of communication and I think as educators, we can forget how powerful a tool that really is. Technology has been growing at such a fast pace, that I think we lack some structure and guidance.

    Thanks for such a great post!

    Leigha

    Reference:
    Symonds, W. (September 23, 2000). Wired Schools, Businessweek.

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