“Don’t bother teaching your kids how to paint – we have cameras,” said nobody ever. Except that somebody did. An OECD education chief has decided that your children learning to create software is an utter waste of time due to how technology will evolve.
His line of thinking is the latest step forward in a results-based, quantifiable-over-quality approach to life and learning. Thinking that these two – life and learning – are distinct and separable is the first misstep down this path.
The human mind is the original camera. Although the mind does not exactly “take pictures” as we go about our day, exposure to any event changes what is on the film.
What happens to the film when we welcome technology into our lives – into our classrooms – without question?
You could say that our entire existence revolves around fixing them once they come into our conscious awareness. Some are personal, some are not.
Most of our problems affect our immediate well-being, otherwise we would not identify them as problems.
Sometimes they are inconsequential: a Sudoku puzzle in a book, for example. These are the problems that we create for ourselves and love to solve.
Others carry extreme consequences, but we rarely take pause for them. They never became personal.
As we go through life, we view the world through our particular lens. This view is uniquely ours and is shaped by our experiences and our perception of those experiences. Accordingly, two people may perceive the same event very differently.
What does this have to do with edtech?
Our feelings about the present are always out of context. What immediately seems good or bad does not always turn out that way in a week, month, or even a year later.
As we cannot see the future, we lack the full context for the immediate.
It is a human curiosity that we shape our impressions by the page of the book we are on rather than waiting until the end of the story.
There are, of course, some stories that cannot wait to be fully told before we form an impression. When an objective truth is unavailable, we must act on good faith with what we have in front of us.
There is a fundamental shift in how we interact with technology that has been progressing for a bit more than 15 years now. Shift Sight stands firmly on one side of this shift. Other companies are scrambling to get to the other side by any means possible.
This is a great divide in technology that defines how we interact with gadgets. The implications in schools (and edtech) are especially worrying.
How we see the world is based on the world that we have experienced. The advice that we give is the advice that we would give ourselves. If someone tells you that "you can't," they are actually saying that "I can't."
We are mirrors.
This is not a limitation, but by design. It is nearly impossible to summon something into our consciousness that we have never encountered. If you don't believe me, close your eyes and imagine a color that nobody has ever seen before. Good luck.
As Shift Sight is primarily concerned with humane, sustainable edtech, the last few posts might have seemed out of place.
They are the preamble for this one. General tech typically becomes edtech due to profiteering, so the previous posts about what is happening outside the classroom is especially relevant.
Let's get back to school.
Technology is the great equalizer, we are told. Technology will save us all, we are told. It might be assumed that ownership of more technology creates more social mobility and a better life.
The reality is that we are seeing reduced quality-of-life across the board whether you measure it by health or wealth.
Shift Sight believes that technological equity, not equality, is a way to better society. Keep reading to learn more.
Evil never presents itself as evil. There are no corporations standing on street corners twirling their proverbial mustaches.
There are lies and deception. There is whitewashing. And there is technology forced on society without full disclosure. This is a wolf in sheep's clothing.
What is a common theme in the tech marketing you will hear? “This technology is helpful!”
Ty is a Founder of Shift Sight, LLC.