Another dot in the blogosphere?

A reminder from opposite week

Posted on: October 18, 2021

Whether on mainstream or social media, pundits like to point out that technology evolves so quickly that laws and policies fall behind.

The last week in Singapore saw a rare opposite: Policy preceded technological readiness. I am referring to the differentiated treatments of those vaccinated and unvaccinated against SARS-CoV2.

The policy was to only allow those who were fully vaccinated access to “dine-in at hawker centres and coffee shops, and to enter shopping malls and attractions” [source].

The problem lay in the check-in process to these areas. The use of the TraceTogether app provided a human checker with information about vaccination status and recorded contact tracing information. A person armed only with a TraceTogether token also had to carry a hardcopy of their vaccination status.

Either way, this created delays in entry to buildings. However, this was resolved when a newer scanning system recorded both vaccination status and contact tracing information. This was efficient, but the rollout was uneven across the week and over different places.

The policy was ahead of technological readiness. But I have no doubt that workers in this field were prepared with change options. This is why the rollout of the new scanning system was relatively quick.

I observe a lopsided similarity of edtech in schooling and education. For example, technology enables more independent learning, but antiquated policies and behavioural inertia lag far behind. This is similar to rest-of-world reaction to possibilities enabled with technology.

But when progressive policies push all stakeholders in edtech, people try to force fit what they already do with new technology sets instead of changing their behaviours, e.g., rely on synchronous teacher talk instead of asynchronous, semi-independent learning. They are neither ready nor prepared. 

I cannot blame people for not being fully ready. They cannot be because the changes are so rapid. But they can be prepared by reading up, trying new technologies, and failing safely. 

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