Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All
Sunday, December 20, 2015
More Than Customers
Part of what we teachers must provide are experiences of sociality and publicity in which students do not understand themselves as customers. Education should challenge what students have grown accustomed to, not least their sense that they themselves are never more than customers. That teachers resist being reduced to service-providers is an indispensable part of this work. This resistance can take many forms (and I admit I try to engage in all of these myself): explicit elaboration whenever possible in lectures and discussions, throwing wrenches in ongoing administrative efforts at quantification and standardization, defiance of grade-inflation and infotainment spectacles for students who demand "their money's worth," and so on. Schools must be places in which other forms of value than competitive utility and profitability are given play in the world, where provocation, improvisation, serendipity, mediation, strange desires help diverse communities build practical and imaginative convivialities together and so open up promising futures for us all.