Digital Futures – The Threat of Technology

And so here I am, nearly at the end of a Charles Sturt University, Master of Education – specialising in Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation.  To finish this learning journey, we (myself and study peers) have been asked to navigate a unit on Digital Futures, designed to open debate and scholarship.

Is technology a threat to education?  This provocation has been offered to us within an educational context where learning scholars acknowledge that technology is an integral element of contemporary education. And yet, while much of the education sector is now dripping in technology, there is little evidence to show that learning outcomes, as we currently measure them, have been improved by this technology.

What do you think the digital future of education entails?

Keep in mind that the rhetoric that surrounds educational technology does not match the messy reality – where many argue, little transformation of teaching and learning has taken place.

You might enjoy the following simple prompt:

I look forward to you joining in on this debate by posting here.


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  1. Here are some of my initial thoughts associated with technology:

    What is technology? When comments are made that technology is failing us ( or even harming us (, I think that we need to consider what we actually mean by ‘technology’ in these contexts.

    Is anything really new? Bryan Alexander highlights ( that many of our ‘futures’ are simply revisions of the past, a topic that Audrey Watters’ touches on again and again in her writing (

    Do we shape our tools or do our tools shape us? It can be easy to define technology as being somehow static, when it is a part of dymanic assemblage, changing and forever influencing ( The challenge is balancing influence with impact.

    How do we balance between cognition and critical concerns? Thinking about Doug Belshaw’s eight elements of digital literacies (, so often the focus is on the cognative and how technology works, rather than what this might mean from a critical point of view. For example, WhatApp may allow users to easily connect and communicate, but in process involves handing over your personal contacts to Facebook.

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  2. When farmers learned to farm from their family and masons, woodworkers, plumbers etc. apprenticed with a “master”, education was “easy”.

    As soon as the goal became a “general” education, the world shifted.

    It will not easily shift back. Unfortunately, too, the amount of available information far outstrips the capacity of any human brain.

    To ignore the new information is impractical, just as it is impractical to think that a smartphone is out of place in education. A smartphone is today’s newspaper, textbook, computer, and more.

    To ignore the probable impact of the new tools smacks of the foolishness mentioned in the video, “the ability to write somethin down will mean it doesn’t have to stick in the brain.”

    Infortunately, those paying the bills for education seem mainly to want “the answer” (which has not existed since the advent of general education).

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