Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
I'm pretty firmly in what is described here as the 'Canadian camp': "technology brings with it powerful but subtle biases.... If technology is not a tool to be chosen for use, then, what is it?... Perhaps one suggestion might be an ecological or environmental metaphor (as in, for example, the common phrase online environments). Perhaps technology is like the water we drink and the air we breathe. Water and air are not tools. We cannot choose to breathe the air or drink the water.... Technology is not a tool which we can choose to use or not; whether wisely or not. Technology exists. Such an ecological/environmental metaphor allows us to examine different approaches to its use and its potential impact." So what of the 'American' idea of technology and progress? Maybe the distinction is this: the American sees technology as a tool to be used, while I see it (and everything else) as an environment to be experienced. We are not something apart from our creations. Our choice of a technology says something about us, our use of a technology changes us (just ask anone who carries a handgun). There's a world of difference between these two views, a world of difference.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Last Updated: Jun 16, 2021 9:32 p.m.