Another dot in the blogosphere?

(Not) My Word!

Posted on: May 10, 2021

The tweet below reminded me about some email attachments that I receive.

Not only can computer viruses masquerade as Microsoft Office attachments, they are also a statement of privilege.

The Office suites used to be one-time purchases but have been subscription-based for a while now. The cost for both systems are prohibitive unless you work for an institute that pays for site licences. If you leave that organisation, you lose access unless you cough up for a personal subscription.

So if I receive a Word doc or Excel spreadsheet to complete, I know that the senders are out of touch with their students. Why? Because they do not empathise with how many more people do not have access to the tools that they take for granted. 

A little empathy can inform technology-mediated pedagogy. As the tweet above implores, educators can use free and open tools for course documents and student-led content creation spaces. These tools force a change in approach to teaching from centralised delivery to distributed discourse and discovery.

Microsoft Word and Google Docs are not just different word processing tools. They are come with different costs and have different philosophies of use. The former was dominant but still embedded firmly in the past. The latter is more common now and meets the needs of the present and near future. Mark my words: Which you choose to use reflects your mindset and expectations.

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