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The Politics of Ed-Tech

Session 4
Audrey Watters — Hack Education

“Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.”

For decades now, many tech-savvy educators have argued that increased adoption of computers and other technologies in the classroom would help unlock problem solving skills, foster networked communication, and connect students and classes to the rest of the world beyond the physical restrictions of brick and mortar or the printed pages of a textbook — the whole “21st century skill” argument and more.

But education technology is not necessarily built or implemented with progressive education in mind. Technology can just as easily reinforce, if not further, a world of standardized test-taking, Indeed, it’s becoming increasingly clear that there’s a significant amount of ed-tech — investors, philanthropic organizations, non-profits, politicians, and corporations — that is keen to privatize if not profit from education.

This session will explore these connections — connections between ed-tech and ALEC, for example — as well as strategies for responding.

Because the question no longer simply “how do we implement technology effectively”? How do we navigate this world where technologies — education and otherwise — are becoming increasingly ubiquitous but may also be increasingly pedagogically, politically and professionally dangerous?

Conversational Practice

Short presentation, followed by a discussion of how to respond. Participants will work on a wiki (or collaborative doc). Topics to explore include: how to make smart decisions as ed-tech users and consomers, how to use ed-tech to subvert the system.

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