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Education, Technology, and Society 2013

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alesnick's picture

Welcome to the online community space of Education, Technology, and Society, a course offered by the Education Program of Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges, Pennsylvania, USA.  

Course Description

This course investigates online networked experiences as among the technologies and environments environments (small and broad scale) in which people now grow (often via struggle and conflict).  As occasions in which people use the Internet to act and interact, online networked experiences are increasingly normal though not consistent or evenly accessible across.  They are also changing the ways people live and work in non-networked environments.  

We will explore networked experiences as those we share with other people (intimates and not) in real time and asynchronously, and those we have on account of people’s having constructed interactive experiences that we share with machines (such as with “smart” tutors). Such experiences seem likely to open up new forms of being. What consequences might these have? Do these new forms have special promise or carry particular threats for people?  all people? certain people? If so, what about the fact that many lack/are denied necessary resources to access them?  

Of course, these interactions are increasing, though quite unevenly part of the process, and product of teaching, learning, and schooling.  How shall we think about and make decisions with respect to this increase, and this unevenness?  Inequalities and inequities will also be our business in this course as we seek to better understand whether and how online, networked experience can enhance education.

We will create this course together.  I will work to catalyze a community of learners able to support, encourage, and inspire each other.  In order to achieve this, we all have the responsibility to keep communication channels open and respectful, to engage and listen, to question, and to be honest.

The course asks you to think expansively about teaching and learning -- about education in and outside of schools. In this way, you will become skilled at joining and shaping public discourse and your own choices around these issues when in a range of roles. I want to work with you to develop ways of imagining and judging that are informed by a sense both of possibility and of suspicion.  Skepticism here will mean a capacity to question everything, even the stance of doubt.


rlee03's picture

Rose and thorns

I've learned how broad the topic of education technology is. Everyone seems to have their own way of seeing educatoon technology and defining the terms. Sometimes it is hard to switch back and forth because I'm not always sure if I'm on the same page as others. The Selwyn Analysis paper was kind of hard to write since I struggled with using the same definition of "fair" throughout the whole paper. But I think because of the complexity of these words we use to describe education and technology, it sometimes just makes things pretty complicated. I would really want to try and clarify these terms and gain more knowledge of the subject throughout this semester.

Salopez's picture

Course so far

One thing that I have learned from the course so far are the different kinds of technology that are present in the classrooms as well as their implications. I have always looked down on technology since I find it to be a distraction rather than a aid in learning. Our outlook on technology in the classroom is forever changing and we definitely take technologies (both old and new) for granted. My rose would be the encouragement to "think outside the box" and participate in different ways that differ from my math education. My thorn would be that because my computer is broken, it really discourages me from doing my readings online and participating in the types of technologies we're learning about.

wendydays's picture

Rose and Thorn

I like how this class will require us to actually experience and read the books and video games that the youth are engaged in. Instead of just sitting theorizing or reading what they like about these games and book we actually get to experience it. It will allow us to form a deeper understanding. Technology is something that is affecting us all and I am glad we have a class that can allow us to think critically about its potentials and implications.

The field placements are a way to get experiential learning rather than just textbook learning. I hope we get started soon :)


jpagan's picture

Relationship between students and teachers & role of teacher

Over the past few weeks, I have learned alot about the ways technology and education can transform and provide students with a better method of learning. Something that stood out to me the most within the readings is the role of a teacher in the classroom and the relationship of a teacher and student while using digital technology. I've learned that digital technology does not replace the importance of the teachers but gives teachers the role as facilitators that guide students throughout the process of teaching. I think this is especially a great way to allow students to really master their own skills and explore different ways they can teach themselves with the guidance of teachers. It brings a modern twist to this age which I think is really important considering we are advaning daily in many aspects.

Rose- Being able to utilize tech as a way to explore learning

Thorn-would like to explore how tech changes learning in class-more experiential learning

abradycole's picture

Course Reflection

Already, in the first few weeks we've been in this class, my perception of technology in education has changed drastically. Our reading of Selwyn's Education and Technology: Key Issues and Debates has complicated and expanded my understanding of the many possibilities technology allows for formal and informal education.

Our own project on a Selwyn chapter was challenging in a way that I had not expected. I used Tumblr, a website I associate with mindless procrastination (because that's how most of my friends use it), to present my project. I used it in a way that I didn't know was possible, and it has expanded my idea of how social media and communication on the internet can and should be used academically. I had to work to overcome a nagging sense that because of the medium I was using, my work was not legitimate or worthwhile. I felt a little bit guilty until I finished my project, but then realized that the medium I had used really can be utilized for academic purposes.

I hope I can continue, through this course, to explore and discover new avenues for communication and education. I think our work with Minecraft and Twitter will definitely help me with that.

edtech2's picture

roseand thorn post one thing I have learned

Technology is a great tool to promote education and learning but not pedagogy in the pure sense of the word. Technological ability and mastery of the digital machine is very appropriate for our global landscape and we need to familiarize our selves with it. Technology though could never replaced the teacher ............

edtech14's picture


One rose is that I have been encouraged oustide of class to talk with more people, peers, and professors about the issue of technology and education. A thorn is that technology has already shown itself to be a bit of an obstacle in our activities so far, for example, Serendip login issues. 

sborjas's picture

So Far

The first three weeks of this course have been really interesting. I have started thinking about the relationship between people and technology, which is not something I have ever thought about before. Learning about technology through the scope of education has given me a new perspective on the uses of technology and my relationship to tech. I have liked exploring this side of technology and feel like I am beginning to understand how much potential technology has to help teachers.  

As far as the content goes I am not really struggling, however the unstructured setup of the course and field placement are leaving me a little confused. 

iwozniak's picture

Isabelle Wozniak

Before beginning this course, I thought that technology in the classroom simply meant laptops and Smart Boards, but now I'm finding that "technology" encompasses so much more than that. It's really cool to hear about educators who are incorporating Twitter and a more informal approach to learning in ther curricula. 

However, I still have doubts as to what digital technology can accomplish as compared to more traditional - and sometimes less expensive - technologies. What are the benefits of learning through digital technology? I think that working with students at Shipley will help me answer this question. 

Silentp's picture

Rose and a Thorn...Plus

One of the fascinating parts of this course is the in-depth look at digital technology as a learning tool/environment.  Something I felt sure about before entering the course was a positive belief in self directed learning, which keyholes easily with digital technology.   However, I think after reading Selwyn, and researching some of the philosophies and politics of both I have to question my own understanding.  Then more questions arise about just what education is designed to do, and how that changes how it is delivered.  Another part of my world turned upside down... I was contentedly ignorant about twitter, and tumblr, but since being in class have been slowly moving into the light. I realized I am a little bit shy, and did not want to be exposed. Yet, it is not as scary as I imagined, it's actually liberating.  That would count as my rose, and the thorn is the frustratingly slow progress I make with all the new interfaces.

vspaeth's picture

The beginning of the end

As we are coming into the end of our first unit I realize I have been learning a lot.  Most of what I have learned has come from our Selwyn reading.  Before reading it I had not really explored the possibilities,pros and cons of education and technology. I learned that there are people who believe technology should replace schools and teachers. I have also learned that some online forms of schooling already exist where these traditional educational forms are missing. I'm excited to continue exploring this. 

I feel like we're building a very strong learning community in the classroom. I think as the semester progresses we're really going to learn a lot from one another. It is definitely a strength. At this point in the semester I don't really have anything to complain about. I think we've been discussing readings well. Overall I'm content and excited to move forward!

edtech14's picture

Past controversies over technology

One thing that I have learned so far in the class is that in the past, people have been just as torn over the positives and negatives of technology, such as the radio and television, as we are now in this day in age over computers, smartphones, etc. I have learned above all to question in more detail the intense excitement over the possibilites of technology. 

multicultural5's picture

course reflection

My rose - I have learned that the fierce debate over technology's role in classrooms and all forms of education is really an opportunity to question exactly what we mean by education. I've learned to push my own initial prejudices and opinions by seeking out information and personal experience with media like Twitter and digital books. I'm learning to think of human interaction and connection much more broadly, pushing against the idea that just because the form of education that I grew up with is comfortable and familiar it is not necessarily the most effective. 

A not-so-thorny thorn - One of my biggest challenges in Education (or I suppose all) classes is actually connecting my learning to what is happening daily in schools and other learning environment. I think that my work with Meenoo and the SLA Will resolve this, though, especially once I am able to actually visit SLA in person. 

aamer's picture

Ed, Tech and Society: Unit 1

I felt like this unit was a good introduction and laid down the foundation for the class: defining the terms and posing the big questions to contemplate over the course of the semester. It has encouraged me personally to engage with and explore technology that I have been reluctant to experiment with in the past, including prezi and instagram, and I am excited to continue to learn. We have also established initial contact with our pen pals in Ghana and while we are uncertain about the development of that relationship at this point, I am excited about the possibilities. The prospect of an undeveloped structure to this part of the course is exciting but at the same time, a bit anxiety provoking, and so I hope we can help future participants by laying down some sort of structure for them.

nina0404's picture

A Rose and a Thorn

At the end of the thrid week I have to say that what I have truly enjoyed is learning more about my own interests and uses for technology. I am very excited to start my field placement which I feel will be very grounding on the subject of tech and education and to continue exploring twitter and blogs for articles and comments in the field.

Something that I had trouble with was our assignment to analyze a question from Selwyn's book. I had a lot of trouble with this analysis and could not get into the paper I was writing. I think most of the troubled stemmed from my own uncertanties with the question and lack of observations and knowledge. I am hoping at the end of the course I can come back to this paper and truly reflect on this stage of the class and where I was in my thinking. I feel with my field placement and further reseach I will be better equipped to analyze the question: Does technology make education fairer?

For the class I hope we continue to incorporate digital media into the class and that I personally can keep up with my explorations on my blog.

alesnick's picture

9-15 NYT artice on Minecraft: Obsession and Ed Tool!

nina0404's picture

Interesting Article on Technology in the Classroom

I found this NYT article on Twitter and I feel like it links to our conversation on "effective" uses of technology in the classroom as well as the teacher vs technology debate.

alesnick's picture

Ideas for e-pen pals exchange

Dear Students:

Here are MC's initial ideas. We welcome your thoughts and topics and activities you'd be interested in doing as part of the exchange (see below). Feel free to comment below or bring ideas to class Tuesday.

Expectation of students: IEP and BMC/HC

To engage in cross cultural communication via facebook/skype/email/etc on a weekly basis to explore the role of online exchange in supporting English Language Learning.

-        Students should be expected to set aside 1.5 hours on a weekly basis to connect and discuss

-        Take into consideration that there are language barriers, cultural differences and religious differences among the students in Malaysia and in BMC/HC. Please be sensitive to the questions you ask, how you dress (if on skype), and the pace/vocabulary you use. Pairs will most likely be male-male and female-female because of cultural/religious reasons.

 Start Date of September intake: September 17th

7 weeks of class

1 week break

3 weeks of class

Week One: Defining Terms (Past/Present/Future)

Objectives: introductions, defining terms (cultural background), understanding different cultures and understandings of technology and their functions

Introduction Interview:

 Content Interview

How do you define technology?

What forms of technology are used by people in your family, hometown and country?

alesnick's picture

The Hunger Games Online: Explorations and Interventions

Students, please use this forum to post and share observations and surprises with respect to how Hunger Games may be found, framed, and taught online.

alesnick's picture

article of interest on Minecraft

Why Minecraft is more than just another video game