Another dot in the blogosphere?

Edtech history matters

Posted on: August 17, 2020

There are several models of educational technology (edtech) integration. However, not many of them have been as researched as TPACK.

TPACK framework, http://www.tpack.org/

Source: http://www.tpack.org/

If I had to give an elevator pitch for it, I would say that any educator wishing to integrate edtech (not just use it) would have to consider their knowledge of the technology (T), pedagogy (P), content (C), the overlaps of TPC, and contextual factors.

One contextual factor that is often ignored is the recent history of the edtech in question. Why does edtech history matter? We need it to learn where it came from, why it was created, how it was used, and what mistakes were made before.

Take Zoom, for instance. Now it seems that every other video conference call or class is over Zoom. People blindly ignore its non-educational roots and its missteps. Audrey Watters recently summarised just one of many examples of Zoom’s foibles.

While Zoom has tried cleaning up its act, it still has a chequered past. Not factoring this as part of the contextual integration is like ignoring, say, the racist past of a book publishing company or the financial irregularities of a potential partner vendor. We would baulk at being associated with the publisher and vendor, so why not Zoom?

You can only answer that question yourself. To do that, you must investigate the recent history of any edtech vendor or company. You owe it to yourself as a decision maker or educator because you are the gatekeeper for your students. To ignore that task is to shirk your duty.

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