Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Marriage of Education and Technology

A "fan" of Amor Mundi, which he generously describes as a "unique space with opinions at the intersection of politics, technology and humanity in general" writes to express the hope that I will use Amor Mundi in the future "to discuss how technology and education are currently merging to promote accessibility to higher education."

"Online degree programs" he proposes, "are steadily gaining credit and are allowing people of all kinds -- mothers with families, fathers, seniors, the disabled -- to get graduate educations that align with their personal tendencies and everyday duties." In consequence, he would like to see more "speculat[ion]" at Amor Mundi about what he calls "the future of this marriage of technology and education." He wonders: "Will it become more streamlined in the future? Will more universities offer online programs? How will this negatively or positively impact society's idea of education?"

File my response under tough love -- whether its target amounts in truth to some variation on a form letter or is simply the product of an education already too close for comfort to the imbecile ideal he is promoting:

"What you propose as the 'streamlining' of education looks to me like the corporate looting of the academy more than anything else, the triumph of the norms and forms of marketing and promotional discourse over the indispensable standards of the humanities and critical sciences. You will forgive me if I cannot muster much enthusiasm for the catastrophic metastasizing scam of online diploma mills.

"Although there is obviously something to be said for increasing access to reliable knowledge to those whose difference or distress denies it them and occasion for reflection and criticism for those constrained by the demands of brutalizing survival or disease, I think facile recourse to the landfill-destined gizmos hyperbolically marketed as 'technology' today never provides the solutions to these shared problems of our communities and rarely offer much that the support of more dedicated teachers sharing more space and more time with diverse students in communities of learning that actually cost something because they are actually worth something would provide incomparably better in every imaginable way. When you speak of 'the future… marriage of technology and education' I strongly suspect you discount the extent to which all education has already always been utterly and inextricably suffused with technique, but worse, I fear to my soul that you are mistaking a rape for a marriage."


jollyspaniard said...

Research has shown that kids can learn lots using computers but that they don't need adults structuring their activity to do it. So in other words so long as kids have access to a computer with an internet connection they'll get that learning on their own anyways.

Dale Carrico said...

Where did that research come from? Kids playing online?