From Inside Higher Ed:
In 2018, the most important article for our “Inside Digital Learning” community to think about was not published here. It wasn’t even published in 2018.
It is the 2017 Educause Review piece “The Rise of Educational Technology as a Sociocultural and Ideological Phenomenon,” by George Veletsianos and Rolin Moe.
Those of us who champion digital learning, and who participate in the “IDL” community, need to take Veletsianos and Moe’s thinking seriously. If nothing else, we should be aware of the possibility that “the rise of ed tech is underpinned by ideology.”
What is the underpinning ideology of “Inside Digital Learning”?
If asked, and I’m not sure that our community has grappled with the question, I’d wager that we’d come to some answer that included adjectives such “critical,” “skeptical” and “a bit wary.” This is not a community populated by unthinking digital learning evangelists.
At the same time, I’d say that much of our community — and here I’d include myself — is deeply invested in the idea that digital technologies have the potential to be a force for good in advancing learning.
We may be critical of how digital technologies are applied in specific cases, but we genuinely believe that, done right, technology can improve student learning within higher education.
But what if we are wrong?
What if digital technologies are inherently harmful to learning?
. . . .
Indictment No. 3: Digital Distracts
The third charge against digital technologies is that they are driving our students (and professors) to distraction. Even those of us who tend to think it a bad idea to ban laptops from classroom have to admit that their presence can sometimes detract from student learning. The case that professors need to learn how to leverage laptops as learning tools may be justified, but it does impose yet another burden on the faculty.
Nor are students the only people on campuses likely to use technologies in a way that inhibits, rather than promotes, learning. PowerPoint has probably set back the art of teaching more than anything else in the past three decades.
How would our discussions on “Inside Digital Learning” be different if we started with the hypothesis that digital technologies are inherently destructive to the goal of advancing student learning?
Would this contrarian viewpoint to the basic assumptions of much of our professional practices change how we think about our higher ed jobs?
Might starting with a critical perspective about educational technologies make any efforts we make to introduce digital platforms to advance student learning more legitimate?
If our digital learning community learns to be more critical, might we develop great levels of empathy for the perspectives of many of our faculty colleagues who are skeptical of digital learning?
Link to the rest at Inside Higher Ed