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some thoughts on technophilia

danah boyd challenges technological determinism: some thoughts on technophilia:

It is easy to fall in love with technology. It is equally easy to fear it…I want to push back against our utopian habits because I think that they’re doing us a disservice. Technology does not determine practice. How people embrace technology has less to do with the technology itself than with the social setting in which they are embedded. Those who are immersed in a techno-savvy, technophilic community are far more likely to embrace technology than those whose social world is shaped by other patterns of consumption and communication.

Hard to disagree with that assertion. But what’s new is also exciting. A new tool can sometimes lead an educator into entirely new mode of practice. For example, I’ve used blogs in teacher education programs. On many occasions, the value of a blog or podcast is found in what it does to the educator who is actively experimenting. I agree with danah that simply dropping a new piece of software into a course won’t necessarily result in positive learning experiences for learners. But a tool can change a way of thinking for the teacher. Perhaps teachers who are excited about trying a new tool produce a ripple effect of pedagogical improvement. I’d rather have an educator trying new tools (and failing) than have an educator who is quite content not experimenting.

One Comment

  1. Howard Errey wrote:

    I too would much rather have an educator experimenting – or even just playing around. Perhaps Danah is wary of a potential promethian hubris in introducing new tools – it is not always straightforward; and I think she is partially right in needing to allow for social or oganisational context. However the creative impulse can come from anywhere and isn’t necessarily a result of social context. I suspect that sometimes an innovative impulse emerges despite (or unwittingly in response to) a non-tech-savvy community. And then try stop the fire of enthusiasm from spreading :)

    Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 7:33 pm | Permalink