On his blog Martin Weller has written a nice piece about what it means to be ‘critical’ in relation to ed-tech and the difficulty of doing so. Martin’s point is (I think) that it is really easy to either proselytise or disparage the uses of (educational) technology in ‘popular’ debate and actually quite hard to offer a nuanced view.
I really like this passage in particular, and feel its worth reproducing:
There is something about throwing technology in the mix that demands people set aside critical faculty. If you want the big keynotes, the money slot on TV or the big book deals then you’d better be coming with a dystopian or utopian vision. Preferably based on sweeping generalisations from your own personal experience. That’s what sells here.
There is profound truth in this statement. A significant proportion of the popular discussion of technology is ‘selling snake oil’. Replace the nouns and adjectives referring to the tech with nouns/adjectives concerning god or magic and that tends to quickly reveal the stakes…
Martin’s blogpost is worth a read.