And So, Without Ed-Tech Criticism…

Posted: August 16, 2015 in Moodle MOOC posts

An intervention by Audrey Waters at a Scratch Conference, about technology criticism and many citations of Seymour Papert

«One of the flaws Papert identifies in “technocentrism” is that it gives centrality to the technology itself, reducing people and culture to a secondary level. Instead “computer criticism” should look at context, at systems, at politics, at power.»

«As I was rereading Papert’s 1987 essay in preparation for this talk, I was struck – as I often am by his work – of how stuck ed-tech is. I mean, here he is, some 30 years ago, calling for the LOGO community to develop a better critique, frankly an activist critique about thinking and learning. “Do Not Ask What LOGO Can Do To People, But What People Can Do With LOGO.” Papert’s argument is not “why everyone should learn to code.”

Papert offers an activist critique. Criticism is activism. Criticism is a necessary tactic for this community, the Scratch community specifically and for the ed-tech community in general. It was necessary in 1987. It’s still necessary today – we might consider why we’re still at the point of having to make a case for ed-tech criticism too. It’s particularly necessary as we see funding flood into ed-tech, as we see policies about testing dictate the rationale for adopting devices, as we see the technology industry shape a conversation about “code” – a conversation that focuses on money and prestige but not on thinking, learning. Computer criticism can – and must – be about analysis and action. Critical thinking must work alongside critical pedagogical and technological practices. “Coding to learn” if you want to start there; or more simply, “learn by making.” But then too: making to reflect; making to think critically; making to engage with the world; it is from there, and only there, that we can get to making and coding to change the world.»


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