Marin Weller’s (2020) book “25 years of Ed Tech” is an interesting read for anyone in the field, or anyone interested in following a journey of evolution and challenge.
One aspect of the first 1/3 of this book that really hits home with me (and as I progress through the novel, surely will continue to) is the theme of failure. Weller speaks of theories, technologies, instructional techniques, and standards failing (think lecture hall mentalities, teacher driven facilitation methods, e-learning standards, and learning objects). In fact, he goes so far as to say that “some technologies have very specific applications, some die out, and others morph to a universal application Specifically in relation to bulletin board systems, but I cannot help but read through this historical compilation and think that in reality, the only truth in that statement is that all of the industries failures have morphed or helped to shape future iterations of educational advancement through technology.
On an unrelated note, I appreciated Weller’s hubris in acknowledging that he too, made claims or had opinions that turned out to be, well, factually wrong.
Another small, but personally striking aspect was the descriptions of distance learning in the 90s, and the ‘distance learning’ that we are engaging in today. My mother completed her bachelor’s degree in the 90s through Douglas College, entirely through distance learning. Her experience was… solitary. Little interaction with her peers, and little opportunity to move her learning outside of the “authorized resources”. I remember the frustration that would encompass our spare room as she studied alone, with no peers to context-check her, or provide additional perspectives. My experience in the MALAT program thus far has been the opposite. I feel connected to my cohort, and it almost feels premature to settle on an opinion or interpretation without seeking out the thoughts of my peers. This, to me, is the failure cycle in action.
These are two small, brief comments on Weller’s book thus far. I am looking forward to seeing where this journey takes my mind in the chapters to come.
Weller, M. (2020). 25 Years of ed tech. AU Press.