In this third of Weller’s book we were asked to target some claims or arguments that have current relevance and others that conflicts or contradicts our work. What particularly caught my imagination was the concept of a “double edged sword” on so many of the technologies/processes discussed. It’s a constant challenge to weigh the pros and cons and it seems impossible to have the perfect solution to fit all scenarios.
I personally flip-flop on my opinions and use of Twitter and Social Media. Weller’s mention of the almost monopoly style presence of some programs/platforms I think is a point of caution. “We no longer talk about whether you prefer Lycos or WebCrawler now, we just Google it” (Weller, 2020). While these essentially universal platforms such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, or Zoom are great for compatibility and interoperability I’d add a critical lens to other aspects of their success. Can there be lack of innovation when a program already has a most of the market share? Do their policies on privacy, appropriate content, banning users reflect or unknowingly shape our beliefs? Do we ignore other options that may bring benefits due to it not being the industry leader? I think we all agree the sense is familiarity and ease of use is great, but I wonder the longer-term impacts of their use.
I was also intrigued with the concept of a Personal Learning Environment. While I don’t think they are necessarily explicitly popular, they likely happen informally quite regularly. Your content may be centralized within an LMS, but more than likely there will be aspects that make you search resources, post on our blogs, make a tweet, watch a related youtube video, ask a colleague a related question. In this essence a Personal Learning Environment can regularly occur, just not in a strictly formalized process.
Weller, M. (2020). 25 Years of Ed Tech. Athabasca University Press.