Who You Know Matters. So Why Isn’t Edtech Helping Students Build Social Capital?

Julia Freeland Fisher, EdSurge, Mar 16, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I have commented on numerous occasions that one of the main products elite universities sell is not high-quality learning (they're really no better than anyone else) but rather access to networks of power and influence. That's why we see the same names from the same schools show up over and over again in research and news reports - the people who run media are writing about their friends from Yale or wherever who run businesses or research. Poor students, meanwhile, even if given access to the same 'education', are locked out of this support network. So why does "the edtech market remains focused squarely on content delivery and assessment." This is a big part of what I'm trying to accomplish with personal learning. Not just tools that connect students to mentors, projects and coaching (though these help), but also, tools that connect them to each other. Support networks shouldn't just be something the elites have, they should be something everybody has.

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