I am trying to figure out what the difference between Corning ad Intel’s techno-utopian ads is, but I can’t see much so far. Once again, promotion of the metaphor of salvation emerges thanks to the use of the bridge as a symbol of connection, accessibility and transformation. Not only is this a very well-chosen symbol, what we see is the great practical possibilities enabled by technology.
Intel’s vision can be linked to the group of metaphors identified in Rebecca Johnston’s article used to describe the Internet and how they shape our thinking. The “Internet is salvation” group of metaphors are :
“…characterized the Internet as both transforming and revolutionary. Instead of a destructive, villainous force, the Internet saved, empowered, and enabled new opportunities. The Internet saved us from social ills such as poverty and poor health care”.
Thus we get to see more happy faces, good-looking professionals and more sterile lives carried out in sterile places which techno-scientific utopian perspectives choose to use as the image of revolution, only in this case Intel’s main focus is on education. Like in Corning’s ad, Intel’s technology is the savior which brings the miracle of effective and improved learning and promises to cure the social ill of presumably unsuccessful education.
So does Intel’s vision satisfy actual educational needs? Well, there seems to be solid lesson planning, good organizational tools available for teachers, quick and easily accessible work assignment, the possibility of interacting with the outside world and a very real bridge engineering project which enhances participation and motivation. So a lot of things actually meet the educational requirements. We see implementation of technology in the classroom based on some kind of criteria, not for just for the sake of it.
That is why Intel’s visions are utopian for me but I’m still a bit suspicious because it’s all too colourful, shiny and polished to be real in this future. More importantly, I am left asking myself whether in future years learning will be defined as an artificial construct based on constant interaction with machines as a natural trend in our evolution or as a voluntary step towards improvement.
So before we fall into the trap of assumption of effectiveness of technology to achieve positive results in education, what can educators say objectively about the current use of technology in the classroom? What is actually being achieved and/or improved?