Technological Determinism

After reading the Adam’s argument and Vallance/Towndrow counter-argument, and again Adam’s counter-counter argument, I kept thinking these scholars must really love what they’re doing, or they couldn’t find another subject to be experts in.

I think I can speak for most employees/volunteers/teachers/coaches/professionals that we don’t put that much thought into our product usage.  If it works, we use it.  If something better is developed, we use that.

Reading these articles reminded me of the artist who hung a toilet on a wall and called it art.  Taking an everyday technology, that most of us put no thought into (unless it is clogged and overflowing) and placing it in another context does shift the perspective.  But unless you are an artist or a plumber or a product designer that’s about as far as you’ll stretch your thinking about toilets.

Same here with technologies.

I don’t plan on inventing the next greatest app, or showcasing my PP presentations as art.  I just want to use my Information and Communication Technology for what it serves best.  If it is missing some features I trust that the next hipster techie will resolve it in the next .0 adaptation.  Actually, if anything the ICT products have too many features, options, designs, styles.  Sometimes I just want to start basic, use a couple of features and close it.  I don’t need the technology to run everything in the class and give me a report on it.

I also think we’d be doing a disservice to our students if we didn’t use the more common technologies in the classroom.  If PowerPoint, Word, WordPress, Moodle, Wiki, You Tube, Google, Twitter, SnapChat have gained traction and become widespread, teachers should be enabling them to use the popular technology in class to become more of  a “digital citizen” with the new tools.  Chances are the use of technology will be one of the vital skills after the formative years in education.   It’s debatable if future students turned adults will ever use The Pythagorean Theory, Geological Formations in N.A, or Iambic Pentameter,  but it’s almost expected they will be plugged into ICT.

1 comment so far ↓

  • #   keith webster on 12.03.16 at 12:32 am     Reply

    Well, I think even within a course where technology is embraced as a good idea and quite necessary (as in this course), there is a difference in how you’ll teach given the tools you have. If this course was taught using just the Moodle LMS, student production would be limited to what could be put in a forum post. I’m in the midst of a program redesign right now to take an MEd in learning & technology out of Moodle and into WordPress. Not that it will be a ‘night and day’ transformation, but I think starting in one place (WordPress vs. Moodle say), impacts what you decide to design as activities in the course – particularly when you are pushed for time etc.

    From my time in the CF I’ve always enjoyed teaching outside. Outdoor classrooms are a new idea in K-12 and post-secondary, though I think they are trying to replicate the design of a traditional classroom with grass underfoot and no roof – not quite as different as might be possible.

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