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The Monsters of Education Technology

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A collection of essays about education technology: its history and its ideologies. Its monsters. These were originally delivered as lectures and keynotes during 2014, but have been edited and compiled here.


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A collection of essays about education technology: its history and its ideologies. Its monsters. These were originally delivered as lectures and keynotes during 2014, but have been edited and compiled here.

30 review for The Monsters of Education Technology

  1. 5 out of 5

    Terry Clague

    Terrific collection of talks and articles from education technology's "Cassandra" who argues that education technology is the "Trojan Horse poised to dismantle public education, to outsource and unbundle and disrupt and destroy." In the course of these essays, the author highlights forgotten histories (e.g. Thomas Edison's 1913 prediction that textbooks would soon be obsolete); asks awkward questions about the meaning of "open"; compares the idea of technology having "wants" with Frankenstein's m Terrific collection of talks and articles from education technology's "Cassandra" who argues that education technology is the "Trojan Horse poised to dismantle public education, to outsource and unbundle and disrupt and destroy." In the course of these essays, the author highlights forgotten histories (e.g. Thomas Edison's 1913 prediction that textbooks would soon be obsolete); asks awkward questions about the meaning of "open"; compares the idea of technology having "wants" with Frankenstein's monster; and ends with Ivan Illich as a potential saviour via "convivial" ed-tech". The oral foundation of the book means that there are more questions than answers, whilst there's a fair amount of (useful) whataboutery here. The unavoidable repetition in some of the chapters and the book Watters is working on (Teaching Machines) will doubtless work better as a whole, but until then this splendid book should be required reading for anyone with an interest in education technology.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Nguyen

    If you're inundated with tools and ideas and you're just looking for a relaxing read without feeling pressured to have to try something new, I recommend this book! I also recommend it if you want to learn more about the origins of a lot of today's ed-tech, even if Watters' take on it is somewhat pessimistic. It's a quick read since it's a collection of speeches; each "chapter" flows extremely well. See here for a more in-depth review: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NX52... If you're inundated with tools and ideas and you're just looking for a relaxing read without feeling pressured to have to try something new, I recommend this book! I also recommend it if you want to learn more about the origins of a lot of today's ed-tech, even if Watters' take on it is somewhat pessimistic. It's a quick read since it's a collection of speeches; each "chapter" flows extremely well. See here for a more in-depth review: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NX52...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ben Kraft

    Audrey Watters is great, but this collection isn't really her best: it gets a bit repetitive at times, the speeches don't always read quite right as essays, and by now it's a bit dated. I'm looking forward to Teaching Machines though! Audrey Watters is great, but this collection isn't really her best: it gets a bit repetitive at times, the speeches don't always read quite right as essays, and by now it's a bit dated. I'm looking forward to Teaching Machines though!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Audrey Watters' work on the history and assumptions of education technology is very, very good. If you haven't come across her before this book is a good place to start! Audrey Watters' work on the history and assumptions of education technology is very, very good. If you haven't come across her before this book is a good place to start!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brigid Goslin

    I wrote this review as an assignment for a course in the Master of Educational Technology program at Boise State University. In the world of exciting, sugar-coated, gleaming “newness” of Educational Technology, Audrey Watters casts a monstrous shadow over it in her appropriately titled book, The Monsters of Education Technology, snatching away the proverbial candy from Ed Tech’s babies. Watters was on her way to writing another book, Teaching Machines, and in the process was traveling to Ed Tech I wrote this review as an assignment for a course in the Master of Educational Technology program at Boise State University. In the world of exciting, sugar-coated, gleaming “newness” of Educational Technology, Audrey Watters casts a monstrous shadow over it in her appropriately titled book, The Monsters of Education Technology, snatching away the proverbial candy from Ed Tech’s babies. Watters was on her way to writing another book, Teaching Machines, and in the process was traveling to Ed Tech conferences delivering talks and keynotes challenging and deeply questioning Educational Technology through intensive research on history, literature, culture and the future of education. She compiled the dynamic and fluid collection of 14 talks she gave throughout the year in 2014 into this nonfiction work, The Monsters of Education Technology. Audrey Watters warns her audience of what lies ahead in the Introduction, describing the format of the book as well as the tone being pessimistic about Ed Tech with a struggled attempt to be optimistic. She quotes the early 20th Century political theorist Antonio Gramsci in several talks, “I am a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.” Watters provides a deep history lesson on Ed Tech including influences on Ed Tech dating back to the 19th Century. Readers are slammed with negativity and abhorrence for silicon valley and the monetizing of Ed Tech by corporations and startups. She exposes data mining for what it really is and questions its validity in actually improving education and benefiting learners. Through this deep examination of the Ed Tech industry and its intention Watters rips off the rose colored glasses most of us are wearing when we perceive Ed Tech. She describes this herself on page 47, “This isn’t about passive or unquestioning adoption of new technologies; it’s about actively wrestling with difficult questions about what these technologies might mean, about who benefits and how.” However, it is not all death and doom from Watters perspective, she does provide ideas and positive inspiration for her audience. She is challenging her audience to release from the glowing halo of Ed Tech and to not accept aspects of Ed Tech just because it is the latest thing, or Wired magazine had a great article on the wave of the educational future. As educators ask questions, research history, recognize monsters, and be a proponent for learners. I read this book with the intention of taking a look at the other side of Ed Tech, through the critical lens and this collection of talks did not disappoint. As a current student in the Boise State University Master of Educational Technology program, the community atmosphere is positivity and how remarkable Ed Tech is, how it is changing the face of education for the better. Watters believes that technology CAN do this, but does not believe that it is currently being done in the right way. If you only want to consider a feel-good, sunshine and roses look into Educational Technology than this book will leave you feeling empty. If you truly desire to look within and ensure that you are a proponent for Ed Tech, than it is necessary to question and challenge all that it has become and will become in the future. I’ll end with a quote from Watters (2014), “Learning - human learning - isn’t an algorithm. The problems we face surrounding education cannot be solved simply by technology. They require political debate and democratic engagement. They require morals not markets. They require flexibility. They require compassion. They require justice. They require great care.” (p. 52)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    At the intersection of education history and technology you'll find Audrey Watters, applying a critical, social-justice-minded lens to modern approaches to revamping education. This book is a lightly edited collection of talks given by Watters that asks hard questions about the Silicon Valley approach to education. My only criticism: more judicial editing to reduce duplication of content would have made the collected book easier to read. In lieu of a full review, here are notes I took while readi At the intersection of education history and technology you'll find Audrey Watters, applying a critical, social-justice-minded lens to modern approaches to revamping education. This book is a lightly edited collection of talks given by Watters that asks hard questions about the Silicon Valley approach to education. My only criticism: more judicial editing to reduce duplication of content would have made the collected book easier to read. In lieu of a full review, here are notes I took while reading: * Papert (discovery, "child programming teh machine") vs. Skinner (multiple-choice questions, immediate feedback) * How does an ed-tech startup achieve "success"? ** Markets are built around units of consumers and corporations, not communities ** Markets favor competition (or collusion), not collaboration. How do public goods (i.e. education) fit in? * "Scalable" courses have implications: ** How are local cultures included or excluded? Colonialist education of sorts (Said's criticism?) ** (Astra Taylor): individual diversity increases, total diversity decreases if everyone consumes the same course content * How do you change education culture rather than simply providing new tools? * Skinner's "teaching machines": "fixation on control, a rejection of freedom, and an absence of emotion" * Focus on "content delivery" rather than other factors. Distance learning as example. Edison predicting movies replacing textbooks. Online education. Audrey calls "programmed instruction". ** Distiction on "instruction" vs. "learning". * Interactivity via the web: social justice approach. ** Not just content delivery. Think of web as "read/write". ** Forums a common tool, but not exactly new. ** "domain of one's own" (UMW) ** Focus on networks (esp. interaction with classmates) Further reading: * Mindstorms (Papert) * Teachers and Machines (Larry Cuban) * Education and the Cult of Efficiency (Raymond Callahan) * Men Explain Things to Me (Rebecca Solnit) * (as a related group) Compulsory Miseducation, Death at an Early Age, Teaching as a Subversive Activity, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, School is Dead

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bonni

    I always feel like my ratings are pretty bland on Goodreads. Almost everything I read gets four stars. Anything that would wind up being three stars or less would most likely not ever get finished. The good news is that there are a plethora of good books out there and I have ample people in my life who are sources for rock solid recommendations. Why five stars for this one? My criteria for a five star review is that it has to be a book that I am highly likely to read again in the future. This boo I always feel like my ratings are pretty bland on Goodreads. Almost everything I read gets four stars. Anything that would wind up being three stars or less would most likely not ever get finished. The good news is that there are a plethora of good books out there and I have ample people in my life who are sources for rock solid recommendations. Why five stars for this one? My criteria for a five star review is that it has to be a book that I am highly likely to read again in the future. This book has challenged me to reconsider my perspectives on many aspects of edtech. I still have work to do. This book promises to make many of us uncomfortable (in the best ways possible) and offers the ultimate hope in better being able to serve our students. If, after reading this book, you want to hear more from Audrey, she was a guest on my podcast: http://teachinginhighered.com/18 Our conversation by no means replaces the importance of reading this book in its entirety, but touches on just some of the issues raised in these keynotes.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Not a book, per se, but a collection of 14 talks--presentations--on aspects of education technology. Lots of overlapping material which--strangely--only adds to the straightforward, no-bullshit tone of these interwoven essays. Watters makes her points clearly, around single topics--data, teaching machines, the overbalance of male thinking in technological design and practice--and then, bingo, the next essay is related and builds on the previous one. It may have been a quick and dirty way to write Not a book, per se, but a collection of 14 talks--presentations--on aspects of education technology. Lots of overlapping material which--strangely--only adds to the straightforward, no-bullshit tone of these interwoven essays. Watters makes her points clearly, around single topics--data, teaching machines, the overbalance of male thinking in technological design and practice--and then, bingo, the next essay is related and builds on the previous one. It may have been a quick and dirty way to write a book, but it's effective. And Watters nails the core issues: to a man with a computer, every problem looks like data. Great stuff. Learned a lot.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Antonio Rodriguez

    great ideas but repetitive Because they are talks a lot of the most interesting facts are repeated. However this author has a great voice and is worth listening to.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Rubin

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ben

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chester Ismay

  13. 5 out of 5

    Casey

  14. 5 out of 5

    Guy

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joe

  16. 4 out of 5

    Namita Mohandas

  17. 4 out of 5

    George

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Kuipers

  19. 4 out of 5

    Geoff Schmit

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laura Gibbs

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marion Tyler

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rich Mccue

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nikhil

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Hodgson

  25. 5 out of 5

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  26. 4 out of 5

    Enrico

  27. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jay Alexander Bostwick

  29. 5 out of 5

    Beep Beep Lettuce

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jbackon

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