Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Dark Side of EdTech??

There is something on my mind...
Those of us who have been drinking the EdTech Kool Aid sing the praises of our gadgets and tools. Integrate! Engage! Connect! Web 2.0! It's all good, if only everyone would do it right. Right? But more and more I find myself wondering if we are simply ignoring another inconvenient truth. Is sustainability the overlooked 21st century literacy?

In this blog post "I Call B.S.," written after TEDxDenverEd this past summer, the blogger complains that TEDx had a "secondary agenda" beyond the realm of pure education.
"Despite hearing from some amazing educators, there was an obvious trend with a political and social agenda. One that I wasn’t expecting and it really caught me off guard. More towards the end of the evening, the presentations were increasingly chocked full of buzzwords like: food justice, activism, organic, global citizenship, green, climate change, social justice, vegatarian, brown, awareness, community, school garden, nutrition, empowerment, global model, and environmental literacy."

As I read the post again, I appreciate his point about education conferences being cluttered with buzzwords that can detract from the most important and enduring value of education- the connection between students and teachers. However, can we really keep separating ourselves from our source? We must have clean food and water to sustain our existence. Education, as important as it is, is secondary to basic survival and quality of life. I fail to understand the offensiveness of an agenda that recognizes that schools must address issues of sustainability if we are to maintain a quality of life that affords us to grow and learn and create into the future. Dr. Tim Tyson, in his excellent post Do We So Easily Fool Ourselves? asks,
"Have we really become this selfish: we demand the good life, all of it. We want it now. We will sacrifice the future to have this moment?"
What does sustainability and selfishness have to do with the "dark side" of educational technology? As technology enables us to do more, think more, share more, create more, connect more and in many cases live a better quality of life, I sometimes wonder if we are indeed sacrificing the future to have this moment?

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