Dilemma


On the one hand: As evidenced by this blog and what I write about, I’m very interested in the intersection of technology and learning. This intersection is what is typically meant by “educational technology”. I’m interested enough in educational technology that I’m thinking of doing some further study and development in the area, possibly even coursework with a view towards a graduate degree in this area at some point in the future. I have the interest; I have a folk-knowledge of some of the skills; I’d like to actually get good at it.

On the other hand: I seriously question my ability to stomach the level of eduspeak that passes for the current dialogue in ed tech. Any number of edublogs out there — many of which are former residents of my blogroll — are written by people who do nothing but hop from one education conference to the next, never setting foot in a classroom, but who feel free to pontificate about the digital native-ness of the current generation of students and set impossibly high expectations for technology as a tool in learning. Much of the coursework I am finding in the ed tech area reads, in its catalog copy, like an education version of buzzword bingo. I just can’t find any promise of substance, and the only thing I can visualize when thinking about entering this universe to begin a serious course of study is me, being cynically contrarian with everything I hear in the classroom or on a blog.

What’s a person in my situation to do?

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Dilemma

  1. Just another liberal professor

    Be a technology contrarian. Honestly, I think that a graphing calculator would make a great graduation present for engineering majors.

  2. I say that you continue to learn about educational technology the way that you have been: independently seeking new technology and applying it to your situation as you think the situation warrants. Your only other option in my mind is to suffer through courses on educational technology and perhaps gleaning only a few pieces of useful information from each class (which has been my experience with ed courses).

  3. JimMc

    It’s understandably not an appealing choice…but I do think your predicament sort makes the case for itself. I think ed-tech definitely needs more independent-minded education folks to offset all the jargon-seeking consultant types who fly to buzzwords like bees to honey. At the risk of sounding tongue-in-cheek, if more people like you don’t enroll, the consultants are going to keep having ed-tech all to themselves (shudder). We need to put it back in the hands of people who actually want to make it work and make it better.

    Hopefully you can find an ed-tech curriculum with genuine substance. Good luck!

  4. mrc

    Amen.

    The vapid pontificating you point out is a symptom education being a business where people can find places to make a living (and a pretty good one) without delivering real value. We need to look at the business model behind this, and cut it off at the knees. I think the real place to do this work is in social entrepreneurship. The educational technology programs are too interested in looking at their own navels. What I hear you saying is that you want to be able to apply this stuff to helping people, but also want to get more skills. I agree with what Andy is saying: autodidact. And look for ways to apply what you already know strategically. Oh, and let me know if you find a good, non-crap program. I might want to join you.

  5. Mark

    Robert,
    We’ve talked before about the graduate program I’m in at Pepperdine. It is an Educational Technology program that is online, and pretty intense. What has been interesting to me is that we haven’t been focusing on the technology as much as I thought, for good reason. The technology will always change, but the reasons WHY we use a specific piece of technology should be the same. I too have grown tired of seeing people spout about how wonderful a certain technology is, without them showing any real benefits. In the short time I’ve been in the program, I have learned a lot – it has helped me solidify some of the thoughts I’ve had about ed tech, and also shown me where I might be off base. I’d highly recommend the program to anyone interested in education and technology, provided you are prepared to go in with an open mind about teaching and learning. It has been a breath of fresh air (other than trying to balance work/home/school life)!