Agenda: Class 8

ET 690 Educational Technology Seminar

"Knowledge, creativity, critical thinking, discernment, wisdom--these are not about the accumulation of facts. They are about the relations between ideas, information, ethics, and culture." Burbules and Callister, p. 108

"Culture is more than the aggregate of what Google describes as 'the world's information.' It's more than what can be reduced to binary code and uploaded on the Net. To remain vital, culture must be renewed in the minds of the members of every generation. Outsource memory, and culture withers." Carr, p. 197

"The great danger we face as we become more intimately involved with our computers--as we come to experience more of our lives through the disembodied symbols flickering across our screens--is that we'll begin to lose our humanness, to sacrifice the very qualities that separate us from machines. The only way to avoid that fate, Weizenbaum wrote, is to have the self-awareness and the courage to refuse to delegate to computers the most human of our mental activities and intellectual pursuits, particularly 'tasks that demand wisdom.'" Carr, pp. 207-208

"Yes, digital technologies simultaneously threaten and enable such human flourishing, and it’s important to bring new, younger, more knowledgeable voices to help improve policy making about their future, but the Pirates are on the wrong path with their aim to defend “Internet freedom.” The term’s ambiguity aside, its value will always be instrumental, not intrinsic: we value “Internet freedom” because, in many cases, it will lead to “human freedom.” Occasionally—as with sites like—it will not, in which case there is nothing pathological or regressive about curtailing it."--Morozov, p. 101

A stream of “bad” numbers will look bad and disheartening only if we stick to simplistic, reductionist criteria of what counts as “success” in politics to begin with, if we fetishize the means, attendance rates, over the ends, the bargaining outcomes of legislative sessions."--Morozov, p. 116

"We must stop thinking of the new filters and algorithmic practices promoted by the new digital intermediaries (and their digerati cheerleaders) as unproblematic, objective, and naturally superior to the filters and practices that preceded them. These new filters might be faster, cheaper, and more efficient, but speed, cost, and efficiency are only peripherally related to the civic roles that these filters and algorithms will be playing in our lives. Without subjecting these faster, cheaper, and more efficient filters to the close ethical scrutiny they deserve, we risk committing one of the many fallacies of solutionism and celebrating improvements related to less important problems while completely neglecting more burning, but less obvious, issues."--Morozov, pp. 148-149

"The world fostered by SCP [situational crime prevention] is one of atomistic, selfish individuals, perpetually concerned about security and unable not only to trust others but to engage in moral reasoning at all. Such people do a great job of weighing the pros and cons of new alarm systems but struggle to weigh their own values."--Morozov, p. 195

"Morality, thus, is not about pursuing a set of fixed ends but about maintaining the legal and deliberative spaces for such ends to be embraced, debated, revised, and, if necessary, ditched."--Morozov, p. 200

"Laws that are enforced by appealing to our moral or prudential registers leave just enough space for friction; friction breeds tension, tension creates conflict, and conflict produces change. In contrast, when laws are enforced through the technological register, there’s little space for friction and tension—and quite likely for change."--Morozov, p. 205

"We will only succeed in challenging technological defeatism if we refrain from using big words like “technology” and “the Internet.” Instead, we need to uncover and set aside whatever cultural, intellectual, and political biases...they introduce into our debates. We’d be far better off examining individual technologies on their own terms, liberated from the macroscopic fetishes of Silicon Valley."--Morozov, p. 223

Return to ET690 Home Page.

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

Last Updated: October 24, 2013