One talking point of George Velatsianos’s podcast that resonated with me was the idea that we shouldn’t always focus on technology. It reminded me of a situation I faced in a previous job; a new software application was being implemented that would house our department’s documentation and help automate our processes. While the application was very promising, I felt that those in charge of its implementation were too focused on the end result (i.e., how the application would work) as opposed to what was required to reach the end result. Subsequently, other work started to be ignored in favor of it being put into the new application, yet the implementation process dragged on for over a year, leaving our team further behind that when we started. At one point I tried to convince my colleagues that we were focused on the wrong issue and simply said “It’s just a tool”, but this was also ignored. If this were to happen in an educational setting, it’s possible that students could be deprived of a great educational experience in favor of a fancy technology, which I think everyone would agree, beats the purpose of implementing technology. However, much like George said that there are many positives and opportunities of being present online, this is also true of technology in education, so I remain optimistic that educational researchers have the best interests of students in mind when they propose such technologies.
As some of you know, I have already completed LRNT 523, and assuming this year’s class will be assigned the same readings, you will be reading Martin Weller’s 25 Years of EdTech. It outlines technologies that have been introduced over the past 25 years, one technology per year. One of the interesting themes that I gleaned from this book was that some technologies were not readily accepted when they were first introduced. Connecting this with the idea that we shouldn’t always focus on technology, I wonder why then some technologies are accepted and some are not. As well, for those technologies that aren’t accepted, I wonder if it’s because they are addressing the wrong issue, and as George suggested, instead need to be addressed through a policy or process change, or whether it’s due to it being a weak technology?
Another talking point of the podcast that resonated with me was the advice George gave about researching what interests you. This is very timely as I now have to focus on what my topic will be for my applied research project or digital learning research consulting project. I can’t say I know the answer to that question just yet, so likely I will have to do further research to see what’s out there and hopefully I can find a topic that I am both interested in and motivated to learn.
Veletsianos, G. (2021, August 11). Personal interview [Personal interview].
Weller, M. (2020). 25 Years of Ed Tech. Athabasca University Press.