Agenda: Class 4

ET 690 Educational Technology Seminar

  1. All technological change is a Faustian bargain. For every advantage a new technology offers, there is always a corresponding disadvantage.
  2. The advantages and disadvantages of new technologies are never distributed evenly among the population. This means that every new technology benefits some and harms others.
  3. Embedded in every technology there is a powerful idea, sometimes two or three powerful ideas. Like language itself, a technology predisposes us to favor and value certain perspectives and accomplishments and to subordinate others. Every technology has a philosophy, which is given expression in how the technology makes people use their minds, in what it makes us do with our bodies, in how it codifies the world, in which of our senses it amplifies, in which of our emotional and intellectual tendencies it disregards.
  4. A new technology usually makes war against an old technology. It competes with it for time, attention, money, prestige, and a "worldview."
  5. Technological change is not additive; it is ecological. A new technology does not merely add something; it changes everything.
  6. Because of the symbolic forms in which information is encoded, different technologies have different intellectual and emotional biases.
  7. Because of the accessibility and speed of their information, different technologies have different political biases.
  8. Because of their physical form, different technologies have different sensory biases.
  9. Because of the conditions in which we attend to them, different technologies have different social biases.
  10. Because of their technical and economic structure, different technologies have different content biases.

--Postman, pp. 192-193

"We need to ask what characteristics of the technology interact with the social context of its use to benefit some people at the expense of others and to reinforce existing power relations; and what possibilities exist for constructing alternative contexts of use favoring more progressive outcomes, for breaking down existing power relations. The relevant issues are demonstrably not technical ones; this is what I mean in advocating the view that technology is a social practice." --Bromley (in Bromley and Apple, p. 2)

"Are these the values we want influencing our children." --Healy, p. 34

"The most interactive experience you ever had with your computer is less interactive than the most meaningless experience you ever had with your cat!" --Tom Snyder (as cited in Healy, p. 39)

"If anything, these distractions have begun to serve an almost accidental function: They give people a false sense of shrewdness. Once anyone penetrates the Net's first few layers of junk, it's easy to think that the hard work has been done and that whatever information remains should be relatively solid. When it comes to learning the principles of academic research, nothing could be further from the truth." --Oppenheimer, p. 156

"The intellectual ethic of a technology is rarely recognized by its inventors. They are usually so intent on solving a particular problem or untangling some thorny scientific or engineering dilemma that they don't see the broader implications of their work. The users of the technology are also usually oblivious to its ethic...Ultimately, it's an invention's intellectual ethic that has the most profound effect on us. The intellectual ethic is the message that a medium or other tool transmits in the minds and culture of its users." Carr, pp. 45-46

"Because language is, for human beings, the primary vessel of conscious thought, particularly higher forms of thought, the technologies that restructure language tend to exert the strongest influence over our intellectual lives." pp. 50-51

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

Last Updated: September 28, 2011