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The failures of educational technologists to recognise the social context of educational technology

This is an interesting example of what it means to think sociologically about educational technology in the sense of recognising how entrepreneurs, technologists and advocates are themselves parts of educational systems. Their pronouncements originate from within systems which have already been shaped by their activity, in spite of their rhetorical tendency to externalise those systems and position themselves as disrupters entering from outside in order to address their claimed pathologies.

Silicon startup schools

My notes on Williamson, B. (2018). Silicon startup schools: technocracy, algorithmic imaginaries and venture philanthropy in corporate education reform. Critical studies in education, 59(2), 218-236. The technology sector has turned its gaze towards education in recent years, manifesting in a whole range of initiatives as well as the increasing prominence […]

The cruel optimism of educational technology

My notes on Macgilchrist, F. (2019). Cruel optimism in edtech: when the digital data practices of educational technology providers inadvertently hinder educational equity. Learning, Media and Technology, 44(1), 77-86. It is now widely affirmed that overcoming the ‘digital divide’ is crucial to ameliorating inequality, providing everyone with the digital skills and access […]

Why education and technology is full of bullshit

My notes on Selwyn, N. (2016). Minding our language: why education and technology is full of bullshit… and what might be done about it. This wonderfully title editorial takes issue with the tendency for educational uses of digital technology to be “discussed in enthusiastic and often exaggerated terms”, leaving “idealistic […]

The MOOC as a trojan horse

I’ve long had an ambivalent relationship to MOOCs. In principle, I don’t see anything wrong with the idea of distance learning of this sort and they are something that I’ve personally enjoyed in the past. This is far from a ringing endorsement, in fact MOOCs leave me lukewarm in many respects, […]