Agenda: Class 3
ET 690 Educational Technology Seminar
"The purpose of this book is not only to put forward reasons
that make sense but to play a role in promoting a serious conversation
about reasons." --Postman, p. 91
- Questions and Announcements
- Thanks to Eileen for Bringing Snacks
- Schedule of Book Discussion
- Class Participation
- Overall, last week's discussion was excellent
- I sent emails last week to two groups of people
- Those whose in-class participation was too low in quantity
- Those whose in-class participation was borderline (1 person)
- Those whose in-class participation was noted for high quality
- Those who weren't noted should not worry as the participation
overall was very good
- Discussion: Postman, Chapters 5 - 9
- What is Postman's Most Compelling Narrative?
- An interesting take on The Word Weavers / The World Makers from NPR
- Suggest a Narrative That Postman Missed
example: popularity, political correctness, America first, respect,
pride in country, accountability, enlightenment, rebellion, speed,
from our discussion last week: passions, intelligent citizens, growing
as a human being, relationships (family and friends), love, survival,
self improvement, providing for your family, technology, faith, service
to others, independence
- Discuss in Small Groups What Makes Your Narrative Compelling
- Discussion: Do Artifacts Have Politics?
- Listen to Technology
and Popular Music from NPR
- Technology is often thought to drive society; i.e. technological
advance is unstoppable, and we are stuck with its consequences.
- On the opposite end, technology is thought to be a creation
of the social and cultural context, and any effect of technology
is a social creation. Technology is, in itself, neutral.
- Winner argues that although technology is a social creation,
technologies contain politics, either designed into them or by
their nature they support or require a particular political or
social order. In issues of design, we can make conscious choices
to redesign the technology. In cases of the nature of the technology,
our choices are to use the technology and suffer the consequences
or avoid the technology altogether.
- For example, Winner discusses the Long Island Parkway system
which has overpasses and bridges that are nine feet tall. This
eliminates buses from the parkways and was designed to keep poor
people and blacks off the parkways and away from the parks and
beaches. He also cites, as unintentional, that many buildings
have been designed without handicapped access, keeping that segment
of the population away.
- Other technologies that, by their nature, support or require
a specific political form include nuclear power and the atomic
bomb (which require a top-down authoritarian hierarchy) and solar
energy (which promotes decentralized control).
- "It is characteristic of societies based on large, complex
technological systems, however, that moral reasons other than
those of practical necessity appear increasingly obsolete, 'idealistic,'
and irrelevant. Whatever claims one may wish to make on behalf
of liberty, justice, or equality can be immediately neutralized
when confronted with arguments to the effect: 'Fine, but that's
no way to run a railroad.'" [Purpose can drive our moral
barometers, and we are often ruled by the purpose of economic
- Political Technologies Grab Bag
- In preparation for next class:
- Postman Paper due in two classes
- Read, Carr, Prologue - Chapter 3
- Discussion Led by Monica and Sarah
- Snacks Next Time: Megan
Return to ET690 Home Page.
This page was prepared by Dr.
David M. Marcovitz.
Last Updated: September 21, 2011