#EDCMOOC Week 2: Film 1 – A Day Made of Glass 2

The problem of promotion of technology exclusively as a positive metaphor can  already be experienced in the present: there is a tendency to embrace technology in schools founded on the assumption of effectiveness of technology for learning and not on objective results. From a superficial perspective, if this trend continues in the future we could face a problematic situation of displacement of already effective learning tools and strategies.

Encouraging this trend from the business point of view makes sense, because companies’ survival depends on the need to create new needs for consumers. And yes, glass-tech is the beautiful, fast, clean and effective symbol of utopian lives, but are these lives really utopian? Before we assume the answer is “yes”, critical revision of such an extreme stance should be mandatory as we know that visions of the future tend to reflect the present.

How is education being visualised here? What is being learned and taught?

Education is portrayed in a utopian manner, as we are only shown what’s to be gained from the integration of technology in the classroom. This brings up the activation of salvation-transformative and revolutionary metaphor in ADMOG2. Some examples could be the clean, tidy and almost sterile learning environments shown and the achievement one of educators’ biggest worries : how to get students involved and motivated in class.

Objectively speaking what’s being  taught  is energy efficiency (classroom) and Natural history (field trip) but what’s being learned can only be quantified on the basis of assumption: when promotion of the effectiveness of the technology in education exclusively reflects the metaphor of salvation, how can we really assess what is being learned?

What is the nature of communication in these future worlds?

As a representation of the cultural belief in technology as salvation for society, communication is instant (reflecting the metaphor of speed), interactive, heavily based on multimedia content and highly effective as the power of technology facilitates it. There are many advantages shown, but not what’s to be lost if we were to rely exclusively on technology to communicate. Corning’s more advanced versions of the tablets we see today dominate ALL human interactions in ALL possible contexts. We are therefore presented with a simple evolution of current trends. I am left asking myself whether the nature of communication replicates the qualities of the technology that delimits it.

Are these utopian or a dystopian visions to you? In what way(s)?

As an educator, these constitute dystopian visions  in that essential aspects of communication and learning such as writing, drawing, colouring, physical movement, etc. are left out. Therefore there is actually a metaphor of (destruction present, where technology isn’t  attacking but has become too supplanting in society.) The fact that society in general would constantly rely on technology to communicate would be negative for me too, as we are currently able to observe the negative impact can have on people’s ability to focus or engage in conversations without looking at their phones every 5 minutes. We might not be able to have a conversation at this point, as information shoved into us 24/7 might fragment our very cognitive capabilites.

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About Francisco Revuelta

I am a 100% bilingual language instructor with over 10 years' teaching experience, I am specialized in adult teaching and I love technology and its potential to enhance language learning. Follow me @frevoc.
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2 Responses to #EDCMOOC Week 2: Film 1 – A Day Made of Glass 2

  1. Hi Francisco,

    I haven’t yet seen the film (I’m galloping to catch up with last week’s tasks as well as this week’s new work. I’m getting there, though, honest!)

    Your point about “essential aspects of communication and learning such as writing, drawing, colouring, physical movement, etc. are left out” is an interesting one for me, especially as I have only worked with some older children, and mainly adults. Not many of these essential aspects are relevant to them. I think I understand your point though: that technology should’t be used to supplant the key, essential good humanistic activities of education, namely experiencing, feeling, discovering, discussing and so on.

    However, I do think that technology, when used well, can actually add these sensations to an otherwise one-dimensional classroom. For example two friends, One who works at the European Space Agency and another who teaches maths in Hanoi Vietnam are going to hold a Google hangout next week so that the Vietnamese children can ask questions about trajectories (the space friend’s speciality.)

    Another example is a lesson I taught myself, using Skype, for e-twinning between Italian EFL students and US ILS learners (Italiano come Lingua Straniere.) Sharing common interests, our students had a chance to practice their language with native speakers right there in their high school classrooms.

    Both of these uses of technology allowed the learners to experience a lesson which would have either proved very costly, or more likely impossible were it not for the technology.

    I guess in summary, what I am trying to say is: that technology can be used to improve or add to the lesson experience. When it does, that’s generally a good thing. Not because of the technology, but because of the human connection that it has enabled.

    You might be interested in the SAMR Model, developed by Ruben Puentadura. He essentially says that tasks we set that use technology need to be designed so that they have an outcome which would previously not have been available without the technology. In other words, no technology for technology’s sake.

    Best,

    Seth

    p.s. just noticed you are an EFL teacher – that’s my background to education, too! 🙂

    p.p.s. I had real trouble posting this comment 😦 For some reason it wouldn’t accept my WordPress Account and linked to my blog . How strange!

    • frevoc says:

      Hey Seth,

      Thank you for your comment, nice way to meet a fellow educator too!

      So basically yes, you’re right: my point was the issue with technology being supplanting. I think I am quite protective of the humanistic element because of my teacher training. All those aspects were emphasized as part of the teaching methodology in general. On a practical level I would define the experience as “organic” although using technology to design class materials actually got me extra points in the course!

      So from lesson planning to delivery it was all about using markers, paper, cardboard, scissors, glue, complaining about the crappy photocopier, standing up, playing board games, singing, dancing … you get the idea. Had this approach to teaching not constituted such a positive impact and greatly improved my teaching skills I might not be so protective of the humanistic element… but the main thing for me was that those humanistic activities were and still are effective.

      My problem is when so called educators want to use technology to sell a revolution in education, therefore replicating what corporations are mainly trying to do. That metaphor is nothing but a (utopian) vision easy to convey in an ad. When you get a chance to watch it (you are not alone in the catching up department!) you might agree with me or not.

      Also I think you have provided two excellent examples of how technology can fill in the gap of the real life factor so frequently absent in classrooms and I definitely agree with you on your point about technology when you say it

      “…can be used to improve or add to the lesson experience. When it does, that’s generally a good thing. Not because of the technology, but because of the human connection that it has enabled.”

      This year I decided I wanted to use a couple new digital tools with my adult students and it turns out that my first attempt at doing so was great: my students were much more motivated than ever, fell behind less, constantly made sure I wasn’t uploading contents and interacted and contributed to the course in the virtual space I gave them. All on an experimental level but we even discussed the tools we were using (Quizlet and Edmodo) during breaks. In fact I think as a teacher I connected a lot more with them!

      Thank you very much for your tip on the SAMR Model, looks really interesting and sorry about the trouble commenting, don’t have a clue as to why such posthumanist behavior! Dystopia!

      Regards,

      Francisco

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