Technopolic Fundamentalism, Data-Based Decision Making, and the End of Education
John Dewey says that the act of thought begins with the encounter of a problem. (1998) The problem I've been struggling with, which has provoked my thinking, is the role of digital technologies in education. For existential reasons, it is higher education that has been the center of most of my thinking on this, but one might suspect that the fundamental issues are the same for public education. To set the context, let me tell you a little bit about my own history with digital technology. I took my first computers in education class in 1982. I soon bought my own Apple II and was one of the first in my college in Virginia to have one. Later, at my current institution, I was one of the first faculty members to use the Internet, before we had any kind of graphic interface. My department was second only behind the Department of Information Technology to have a department website, of which I was the webmaster. I was among the first on my campus to create and use my own podcasts in my classes. Today I am part of a team that goes into public schools and trains teachers in the use of computers in the classroom. I feel a need to say all of this because on my campus, on occasion, I have been viewed by some colleagues and administrators alike as one of the anti-technology voices on our campus—an enemy of progress. Those who read this might reach a similar conclusion, but I think it is not an accurate one.
Journal of Philosophy and History of Education, 60, 2010, 141-144.