I remain unwavering that we suffer from overconsumption of technology in everyday life, and especially relating to our mobilities and sedentary lifestyle that is often screen-based. Research supports a connections between screentime and poor health, including vision-related impairments. As such, higher education institutions are failing to be adequately critical in the use of technologies, as are academic and research associations tasked with the role of instructional technology in teaching and learning. These groups — like EDUCAUSE, New Media Consortium, and others — appear closely connected to their sponsors, and not critical nor creative enough with respect to instructional technology’s ability to transform education.
Opportunities to apply mobile and location-based technologies, notably the GPS-equipped smartphone held by most higher learning and junior and senior high school students today, are staggering. Place-based, problem-based, experiential, inquiry-based, location-based teaching and learning strategies are enabled by location-based technologies. Such an approach can empower all learners and perhaps especially marginalized learners to engage their community and natural surroundings for a more effective, facilitated approach to education that prepares students in a “learning by doing” environment, and not a staggered “it will pay off some day, we promise!” approach.
Most importantly, such an approach will help address the dismal set of political affairs that exist in the United States, where a self-avowed sexual predator is elected to the position of President of the United States of America. This is only possible with an uneducated population that conflates procedures with humanity and humanness, and that relies upon the success in monetary terms of the former to the ability to appreciate humanity and the sustainability of our fragile human existence.
Educators have failed and this is clear. The curriculum must be challenged in new and innovative ways, including the lame and tired and stale classroom metaphor that disconnects learners from each other, from their funds of knowledge, and from a sense of culture and social participation. Yet campuses with qualified facilitators relying upon effective technologies already used in daily life, could transform all of this. Will we see this happen? I do hope so. But I can sense the inertia everywhere, including in this course. The resistance is palpable, and the lack of criticality is apparent. Better to focuse on the nuances of a particular software program such as Twitter, or Google Docs, or Voicethread or whatever. Better to focus on the individual trees than to contemplate the challenges of the new, dark and foreboding forest.
Eubanks, V. (2011). Digital dead end: Fighting for social justice in the information age. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press. (ISBN: 9780262518130)
Horn, M. B., Staker, H., & Christensen, C. M. (2015). Blended: Using disruptive innovation to improve schools. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. (ISBN-13: 978-1118955154)
Pacansky-Brock, M. (2013). Best Practices for teaching with emerging technologies. New York, NY: Routledge. (ISBN: 9780415899390)
Whitaker, T., & Zoul, J. (2015). What connected educators do differently. New York, NY: Routledge. (ISBN: 9781138832008)