Agenda: Class 9

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

"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

"Nevertheless, by equating the Internet with opportunity for underprivileged people, she has made a dubious assumption – an assumption that the Internet can make up for severe non-Internet deficiencies." --Toyama, p. xii

"The real lesson, then, is not about technology at all – it’s about the right kind of heart, mind, and will." --Toyama, p. xvi

"Each time, we thought we were addressing a real problem. But while the designs varied, in the end it didn’t matter – technology never made up for a lack of good teachers or good principals." --Toyama, p. 6

"In other words, there’s a big difference between learning the digital tools of modern life (easy to pick up and getting easier by the day, thanks to improving technology) and learning the critical thinking skills necessary for an information age (hard to learn and therefore demanding good adult guidance). If anything, it’s less useful to master the tools of today, because we know there will be different tools tomorrow." --Toyama, pp. 13-14

"“Technology,” he wrote in 1986, “is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.” This enigmatic statement captures what is probably the most common view among scholars of technology today: Its outcomes are context-dependent. Technology has both positive and negative impacts because technology and people interact in complex ways." --Toyama, p. 24

"In other words, what people get out of technology depends on what they can do and want to do even without technology." --Toyama, p. 29

"Put these ideas together and technology’s primary effect is to amplify human forces." --Toyama, p. 29

"So it’s not that technology prevents true connection. The problem is that technology also makes it easy to have thin, empty interactions. In the choice between a challenging intimacy and casual fun, some of us choose the latter." --Toyama, p. 41

"In large organizations such as universities, governments, and corporations, one hand frequently doesn’t know what the other hand is doing. To break down silos, it’s tempting to set up Web portals and internal social media sites, but the real issues are almost always those of management, internal politics, and even limited human attention. Unless those social problems are dealt with, technology doesn’t have a base to amplify." --Toyama, p. 45

"Low-cost technology is just not an effective way to fight inequality, because the digital divide is much more a symptom than a cause of other divides. Under the Law of Amplification, technology – even when it’s equally distributed – isn’t a bridge, but a jack. It widens existing disparities." --Toyama, p. 49

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

Last Updated: October 26, 2015