Another dot in the blogosphere?

Three dimensions of edtech

Posted on: July 4, 2014

Yesterday I shared a trinity of ideas that stemmed from conversations I had with stakeholders. Today I share something that has guided my thoughts and shaped how I operate over the last decade.

Information Technology or IT tends to be one-dimensional. It is often one way and standards-based, but often necessary as a basic step. Leveraged on correctly, IT is a wonderful servant. Managed incorrectly IT becomes terrible tyrant.

Think about your workplace’s IT policies, approved hardware and software, and the communication of said policies and usage of devices and programmes. Think also about how IT can enable you to do your basic work, but when you want to innovate or do something different, IT policies and practices hold you back.

Information and Communication Technology or ICT tends to be two-dimensional. The communication component in ICT brings in processes that are two-way, consultative, and based on negotiation.

Think about communication tools Skype or Hangouts and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Think also about authoring tools like blogs and curating tools like and Diigo. The idea is to seek and to share, not harvest and hoard.

PowerPoint is IT because it enables mostly one-way presentations. Google Slides can be ICT because the audience can be participants if the facilitator allows slides to be commented on or collaboratively created. IT is about control and it is typically teacher-centred. ICT is about communication, creation, and collaboration, and it is best used when student-centred.

ICT is also a better acronym. When I first started offering MLS125 in NIE four years ago, I would meet school teachers who were Subject Heads of Information Technology. Who wants to be a SHIT?

Interactive Digital Media or IDM is literally and figuratively three-dimensional. IDMs include, but are not limited to, virtual worlds, simulations, and video games. They can take advantage of the best that is IT (e.g., programming) and ICT (e.g., distance but real-time communication).

I am tempted to include the next wave of technology, wearable computing devices, the Internet of Things and the semantic Web (Web 3.0), as IDM.

Current and emerging IDMs contribute to the individual learning to be. Who a person is, what they do, how they do it, as well as when, where, and why they do so, are already influenced by ICT. Think about how people walk or talk in the presence of technology. But I think that our being and our sense of who we are will be shaped even further by IDMs.

We are already precursors of cyborgs as we have memories like thoughts, photos, videos, and audio in blogs, online galleries, YouTube, and podcasts. When we need information we reach out to Google or an online community instead of just reaching into the limited recesses of our minds.

If we want progress, to innovate, or to push for meaningful change, we should keep in mind the current affordances of IT. But that should not dictate planning or policymaking. We should be taking advantage of forward-looking ICT or testing emerging IDMs. To do otherwise would be backwards and irresponsible.

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