Ed-Tech as a Discipline

Tim Klapdor, Heart | Soul | Machine, Oct 16, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The idea has been making the rounds recently. This article summarizes some comments in favour from Martin Weller, opposed from Audrey Watters, and breezes through some comments take take the discussion in all sorts of directions. "I’m left with the feeling that maybe a discipline isn’t what we need," says Tim Kapdor in this post, "but we do need something." Right now PopEdu gets all the attention - Sal Khan and the Gates megamoney. Against this, "Ed-tech and using digital technology for learning is something distinct and relatively new. It’s not computer, neuro or information science, or humanities or education – it sits outside the normal traditions. It needs staking out, research, evidence and practices in order to take a seat at the table." I get the point - there needs to be a way to weed out the fads and fashions, the quacks and the cretins. But pretending that we're physicists isn't the answer either. If  there is to be a centre to this discipline, it needs to be an open centre. Because as Maha Bali says, "I don’t know how becoming a discipline won’t again exclude certain people from the table."

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