Are we too naive in education?

In my last post I had been thinking about technologies that online communities use and how the technology pushes people to communicate in a certain way. I pushed this out to my Google+ feed, perhaps because Google use plus metrics to an rank article but I would like to think more so because I have friends on there whose feedback I value. When my Google notification button told me I had a comment from Sheila MacNeill I was pleased, not solely because comments will get me some points in Google magic ranking algorithm but more importantly Sheila has a knack for reading through a wall of text, pulling out the important stuff and translating it in to concrete questions. This was Sheila’s comment after reading my post:

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It dawned on me the hour I had spent writing the previous post, battling back and forth with Microsoft Word to get to a point I hadn’t quite worked out yet, had been an hour skirting around this question. I do not know the answer to the question.

I do know that in other areas of technology there are investigations in to how people are being exploited for maximizing monetarily returns. While some these techniques become the centre of debate and legislation they find themselves in education dressed up as gamification as a ways to increase our student engagement graph. The same data mining woes that dance around the PRISM debate not quite as clear when we talk about Learning Analytics (not sure where that last sentence will put me on the NSA’s powerpoint of Gephi graphs to the president).

As somebody who has been in the audience of a Cetis keynote I know that the educational technology bunch are not a naïve lot (at least as far Cetis conference delegates are concerned). But it does seem that the way we evaluate technology in education is very different than the way we evaluate technology in other domains. Yesterday a friend paraphrased a book he read and said something like thi ‘capitalism is about taking and education is about giving’. Perhaps the inherent giving that education is supposedly about just gives a blind spot sometimes.


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