Agenda: Class 7

ET 690 Educational Technology Seminar

"Among the greater ironies of the computer age is the fact that information is cheap and accessible, and so no longer very valuable. What is valuable is what one does with it. And human imagination cannot be mechanized." --New York Times review of The Productive Edge as quoted in Oppenheimer, p. 189

"Learning can be only partly measured quantitatively. It's an enterprise, rather, that is deeply psychological, frequently emotional, and thus inescapably subjective. To ignore this fact, to force millions of teachers and students to turn all we have learned about the mysteries of the mind and the human soul into a narrow numbers game, is an insult to science and an abrogation of social progress." --Oppenheimer, p. 292

"For some things, the best balance for children is zero. Alcohol, for example. Cigarettes. Street drugs. What's the right balance of violent images?" Stoll, p. 69

"Do we truly want a knowlege environment in which individuals construct entirely personal and idiosyncratic ways of organizing information, without regard to the ways in which communities of culture and tradition have tended to connect and prioritize things in certain ways rather than others? Does the leveling of all information nodes and the decentering of all organzing principles lead to more freedom or less?" Burbules and Callister, p. 62

"Imperfection, ambiguity, opacity, disorder, and the opportunity to err, to sin, to do the wrong thing: all of these are constitutive of human freedom, and any concentrated attempt to root them out will root out that freedom as well. If we don’t find the strength and the courage to escape the silicon mentality that fuels much of the current quest for technological perfection, we risk finding ourselves with a politics devoid of everything that makes politics desirable, with humans who have lost their basic capacity for moral reasoning, with lackluster (if not moribund) cultural institutions that don’t take risks and only care about their financial bottom lines, and, most terrifyingly, with a perfectly controlled social environment that would make dissent not just impossible but possibly even unthinkable." --Morozov, p. xiv

"Sometimes, imperfect is good enough; sometimes, it's much better than perfect." --Morozov, p. xv

"Recasting all complex social situations either as neatly defined problems with definite, computable solutions or as transparent and self-evident processes that can be easily optimized—if only the right algorithms are in place!—this quest is likely to have unexpected consequences that could eventually cause more damage than the problems they seek to address." --Morozov, p. 5

"In an ideal world, of course, both visions can coexist and prosper simultaneously. However, in the world we inhabit, where the administrators are as cost-conscious as ever, the approach that produces the most graduates per dollar spent is far more likely to prevail, the poverty of its intellectual vision notwithstanding. Herein lies one hidden danger of solutionism: the quick fixes it peddles do not exist in a political vacuum. In promising almost immediate and much cheaper results, they can easily undermine support for more ambitious, more intellectually stimulating, but also more demanding reform projects." --Morozov, p. 9

"To reject solutionism is to transcend the narrow-minded rationalistic mind-set that recasts every instance of an efficiency an obstacle that needs to be overcome." --Morozov, pp. 13-14

"Thus, while Kickstarter might give us the illusion of more efficient distribution of arts funding than the NEA, it would be na´ve and very shortsighted not to take note of the fact that we’ll also get—and this is much more important than the efficiency of the platform—very different art." --Morozov, pp. 27-28

"The problem is that, now that digital technologies allow us to collect and store data on the cheap, it might be tempting to skip the complex philosophical and empirical analysis that is essential to analyzing the purposes transparency and opacity serve in a given context." --Morozov, pp. 85-86

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This page was prepared by Dr. David M. Marcovitz.

Last Updated: February 26, 2014