Another dot in the blogosphere?

Know thy past

Posted on: March 23, 2021


Video source

If Johnny Harris has his facts straight, then there is a surprising and enlightening historical link between Belgian imperialism of the Congo and the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine. The video is well worth the watch for the story and the skill with which Harris serves it up.

For me, this is a reminder to always be aware of the history of any policy, process, or product. In my field, all three are ingredients of edtech.

Like the J&J vaccine, each form of edtech has storied histories. Some might have dark or dirty roots. While we cannot change the past or if the present might be positively unrecognisable from a shady past, knowing the history is still valuable.

How so? After being informed about the past, I believe that we can do something about making the present policy or practice better. For example, content management systems with strict command and control might be giving way to more open platforms that encourage co-creation and collaboration.

We can also can be humble about what we are involved in. This approach is particularly relevant if we are part of a successful intervention, e.g., the provision of mobile devices and Internet dongles to students-in-need. We acknowledge what others have done to enable online and distance learning, and do our part to keep everyone moving forward and upward.

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