Agenda: Class 910

ET 690 Educational Technology Seminar

"We remember a phone number; we remember an episode of traumatic suffering that changed our lives. To sweep these different orders of experience under the rubric information can only contribute to cheapening the quality of life." --Roszak, p. 100 (ties directly to Morozov, Chapter 8)

"These issues of apparent choice and consent always need to be examined in the context of circumstances that people may not be choosing; from this broader standpoint, the apparent voluntariness of certain choices might be questioned." --Burbules & Callister, p. 128

"Do we really want to build our educational programs around 'informative entertainment?'" --Burbules & Callister, p. 147

"But at a deeper level, this book puts forth the idea that a post-technocratic way of thinking should occupy a more central place in the methods and content of education itself. As we inevitably become more involved with these new information and communication technologies, we should interact with them in a two-sided, reflective way that maintains a critical distance from our tools even when--especially when--we find them most 'useful.'" --Burbules & Callister, p. 179

"Attempts at quantification are quite often attempts at simplification—and simplification is anything but apolitical, especially when competing interpretations of a problem are discarded in favor of something measurable and manageable." --Morozov, p. 246

"We must first ask what we value about education—and this is primarily a question about the appropriateness of its ends, not the efficiency of its means." --Morozov, p. 248

"Any learning enterprise that begins with the assumption that ideas have a bottom line will succeed in churning out the next generation of Bain consultants, but will it produce any talented essayists?" --Morozov, p. 248

"Bruno Latour distinguishes between “matters of facts,” the old unrealistic way of presenting all knowledge claims as stable, natural, and apolitical, and “matters of concern,” a more realistic mode that recognizes that knowledge claims are usually partial and reflect a particular set of problems, interests, and agendas. For Latour, one way to reform our political system is to acknowledge that knowledge is made of matters of concern and to identify all those affected by such matters; the proliferation of self-tracking—and the displacement of thinking by numbers—risks forever grounding us in the matters-of-fact paradigm." --Morozov, p. 253

"All our actions have unpredictable consequences, but instead of shying away from this predicament, we should try to rebuild our social and political structures accordingly. We are suckers for various technologies—even the most inconsequential—but we rarely recognize that their use is only made possible by vast sociotechnological systems, like water supply and now cloud computing, that mostly remain invisible to us but have consequences much more significant than our own use of the technologies these systems make possible." --Morozov, p. 325

"All these projects have in common their aspiration to sensitize us to our shared “technological unconscious,” to uncover the infrastructures that make our techno-binges possible, to transcend the reductionism of numbers, the paternalism of nudges, and the simplicity of gamification, and to engage users as citizens—rather than as consumers who only understand the language of prices and percentage points, or children who can’t be trusted to do the right thing, or Skinnerian rats who can’t do the right thing unless the matching incentive is present." --Morozov, p. 328

"But this argument holds only if we reject the idea that deliberation about technologies we use—and the broader sociotechnical systems that make them possible—is not itself an important function. What if we change the initial assumption guiding functionalism—that there’s broad agreement over what a device should do and how—and opt for a more Deweyan approach that would view such agreements as temporary and contingent and always liable to revision through debate and deliberation?" --Morozov, pp. 328-329

"The goal of privacy is not to protect some stable self from erosion but to create boundaries where this self can emerge, mutate, and stabilize." --Morozov, p. 346

"If all that matters is getting you to behave in a manner desired by the social engineer—whether it’s to stop wasting energy or eat healthy food or care for the elderly—then there’s no need to worry about any such loss of autonomy. As long as the right response is solicited, the intervention counts as a success. But there’s something profoundly disgusting about this approach, for it not only tricks—rather than talks—us into doing the right thing but also gives us a fake feeling of mastery over our own actions. This illusion, in turn, precludes us from questioning the ends that the social engineer is pursuing, no matter how benign they may be." --Morozov, pp. 349-350

"The goal of their interventions—in both products and policies—should be not just to provide answers but also to make it easier to pose new questions." --Morozov, p. 352
Return to ET690 Home Page.

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

Last Updated: March 21, 2014