Convivial Tools in an Age of Surveillance

Audrey Watters, Hack Education, Nov 14, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Audrey Watters talks about "how we can push back on the hype surrounding ed-tech disruption and revolution, how we can ask questions about whose revolution this might be — to what end, for whose benefit — and how we can, should, must begin to talk more seriously about education technologies that are not [built] upon control and surveillance." I like especially the section about Alan Kay "pushing forward a vision of what we now call 'personal computing.' Not business computing. Not cryptography. Personal computing.... It’s 'personal' because you pour yourself into it — your thoughts, your programming." Why then is education technology about "control, surveillance, and data extraction?" I also like the suggestion that "what we need to build are more consensus-building not consensus-demanding tools." Except, of course, we shouldn't care about the outcome of such tools. We should care about the process. See also The Future of Education: Programmed or Programmable.

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