What is EdTech

16 Comments

  1. I think it starts by assuming that the above two positions are at opposite ends of a single spectrum with “you” in the middle. I see this as being much more complex than that–starting with the question of what is it about education that is fundamentally broken? And going further, if big business wants to supplant teachers with technology, is this fundamentally sound as a long term strategy.

    By taking the middle ground (which isn’t really there in my opinion) you make it sound like the best alternative is to engage Edtech and that by engaging Edtech one can help insure that the outcome will be a positive one.

    This conclusion does not sound like that of an infographic; instead it sounds like you are staking out a position between two camps and in this sense it is a mild polemic. Is doing this wrong? No, and indeed stating it clearly seems to be a great way of establishing if people agree that engaging is the best strategy.

    I also recognize that by saying things in this way I seem to be biting the hand that feeds me. I do so hesitantly and with a great deal of admiration for your efforts.

  2. Come to think of it, if education is “fundamentally broken” when did it break? Has it always been broken? Where and when wasn’t it broken? And can we fix something that is fundamentally broken with mere tools (or money)? What does it say about us when we believe we can fix “fundamental problems” with tools or money (and not people)?

    And speaking as an American I have no faith that the people in New York or Silicon Valley can fix something that is “fundamentally broken”. People in these places are mostly driven by money and power and self-promotion and the need to find a quick fix. Not exactly the people who I would want to fix something that is “fundamentally broken”.

    No, the more I consider this, the more I feel this is not a “infographic”. It is more akin to a polemic.

    I

    1. Hi Michael – whose polemic? Those who think EdTech is a panacea to fix a ‘broken’ education system, or those who think it’s part of a neoliberal conspiracy to hand education over to corporate interests? Our position is that neither of these extremes is particularly helpful – and that’s why we think ELT should engage with the EdTech movement in a positive but critical way.

  3. For example: can you define edutech so it has a neutral meaning? By giving it such a positive meaning right from the start makes any impartial discussion very difficult.
    BTW, just for clarity sake, my position is that I am very positive on the use of tools in the classroom if the tools are designed to support the teacher in his or her primary mission. With respect to the use of teaching/learning tools for self-learning I remain a skeptic especially when those tools are designed to enrich large corporations at the expense of teachers in the classroom.

  4. Good question. I don’t want to duck the question but I do want to ask what “its” refers to in the last sentence. I may have misunderstood.

      1. I get the feeling that this info-graphic is really just a position paper in disguise. Not that you shouldn’t have a position. In fact I would expect you to have one. After all you guys are at the center of all this. But why flesh out your position in a way that suggests impartiality? You claim the anti-neoliberal critique sees Edtech as a plot whereas you counter with the belief that engaging with Edtech is progressive and productive. Aren’t these just ideologies in the end? My only gripe, and admittedly it may be a minor one is that you do this in the guise of an info-graphic? I apologize in advance if this seems a bit over the top.

        1. It’s an interesting perspective, Michael. To be honest, my first reaction was that the eltjam boys were greasing the propaganda wheels. However, on reflection I think what they are really saying is: this is a quick overview of what EdTech is and how Edtech sees itself. In that sense the info-graphic sums it up very succinctly and does its job well.

          I’m not sure how truly neutral anyone can ever be, and there is certainly some overlap in the eltjam stance and that of EdTech – they do believe that EdTech is a genuine force that’ could’ change the educational landscape, and I’m sure they identify with some of the EdTech ideals. I do not think this a bad thing, though – in spite of the fact that I routinely deposit more intelligent matter down the toilet pan than I read in some EdTech statements.

          The important thing, for me at least, is how this blog has become a real forum of discussion for these really important issues. That, now, is something that has been missing for along time, and the dialogue that results has to be a good thing.

          By the way, eltjam, I do take issue with the ‘slow-to-adapt publisher’ line – a statement that comes from your own ideological treasure chest. I feel a blog entry of my own coming on: perhaps it’s time that someone from one of the big publishers addressed this. I feel a blog post coming on.

          1. My favourite line in a blog comment EVER : “I routinely deposit more intelligent matter down the toilet pan than I read in some EdTech statements.” If you write a guest post please include that 🙂

          2. I welcomed what for me is not so much an infographic as an example of eltjam clearly setting out their stall. In a forum of often heated and polemical discussions, I’ve sometimes felt that an eltjam voice was oddly missing.

            Brendan, I look forward to your post! I think there’s been a general tendency here to assume that in the world of Edtech, it’s slick and agile start-ups vs sleepy old publishers, with nothing and no one in between. I think there’s far more to come from other quarters than this new vs old opposition suggests. Of course, the publishers won’t be trumpetting *their* current projects to the four winds… Awaiting your post.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Michael.
      We are interested in your response to the infographic. Would you mind clarifying for us what you think it’s advertising?

      Best,

      Tim

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