Cutting Through the Techno Hype: Questioning
- Carchedi, Guglielmo. High-Tech Hype: Promises and Realities of Technology
in the Twenty-First Century, in Jim Davis, Thomas Hirschl and Michael Stack,
editors. Cutting Edge: Technology, Information, Capitalism and Social Revolution.
New York: Verso, 1997, 73-86.
- Debord, Guy. Society of the Spectacle. Detroit, Michigan:
Black and Red, 1983.
- Muffoletto, Robert. The Expert Teaching Machine: Unpacking the Mask,
in Robert Muffoletto and Nancy Nelson Knupfer (eds), Computers in Education:
Social, Political, and Historical Perspectives. Cresskill, New York: Hampton
Press, 1993, 91-104.
Muffoletto "provides the reader with a broad
historical and social perspective of computers in education." His thesis
can be best understood from the introductory comments to the book on page
4 and 5. It reads as follows: "The introduction of any device or tool into
the classroom environment must be considered in reference to change. The
definition and control of that change has, since the late 19th century,
been the domain of the expert. The role of the educational expert in defining
curriculum and legitimate forms of knowledge has been removed from the interpretive
social world and situated in the objective disinterested world of science.
... Muffoletto argues for the "unmasking" of the expert as a nonsocial,
nonhistorical subject. Muffoletto's argument is clear: To understand computers
in educational practice the idea of the expert must be unpacked and placed
in a social, historical, and political world. Accompanying the expert is
the discourse of expertise and science. But more so, the expert participates
in the discourse of power and interest. In turning to the expert for solutions
to predetermined problems, the expert also defines or redefines the problem(s)
in light of certain ways of knowing. The way problems are articulated frames
the possible actions to reach a solution. Computers in education have been
framed by discourses and struggles of our social history(s). Therefore,
what can be discussed, who is heard, and the actions to be taken are all
linked to our beliefs about expertise and about technology." (LAD)
- Nye, David E. Narratives and Spaces: Technology and the Construction
of American Culture. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.
- Pavlik, John V. New Media Technology: Cultural and Commercial
Perspectives, Second Edition. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon,
- Popkewitz, Thomas S. and David S. Shutkin. Social Science, Social
Movements, and the Production of Educational Technology in the U.S., in Robert
Muffoletto and Nancy Nelson Knupfer (eds), Computers in Education: Social,
Political, and Historical Perspectives. Cresskill, New York: Hampton Press,
This article considers the philosophical and historical
concerns that guide thought and action related to the vision of computers
in education. The authors position that many competing epistemologies in
the fields of educational technology and education research pose different
assumptions about the social world and the world of schooling itself. Hypermedia
is presented by the authors as "a new information technology designed to
relate data processing to human thought." However, this metaphorical jump
should be viewed with caution. They further argue that with hypermedia's
introduction into the "field of education ties research to state agendas."
Namely that there is an "overt purpose to provide technological responses
that will modernize schools in relation to changes perceived in the workplace
and culture." (LAD)
- Poster, Mark. Cyberdemocracy: Internet and the Public Sphere, in
David Porter, editor. Internet Culture. New York: Routledge, 1996,
- Postman, Neil. Conscientious Objections: Stirring Up Trouble About
Language, Technology, and Education. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1988.
- --------. New York: Knopf, 1995.
- Roszak, Theodore. The Cult of Information: The Folklore of Computers
and the True Art of Thinking. New York: Pantheon Books, 1986.
- Shenk, David. Data Smog: Surviving the Information Glut. Revised
and Updated. New York: HarperEdge, 1997.
Shenk has a pessimistic view of the supposed promises of
technology. He describes it as a "sort of mindless techno-utopianism [that]
threatens to distract us..." He further goes on to state that "ever on the
horizon sits a wondrous technology promising to deliver a truly suitable,
educated, civil, democratic society. And, though it never does quite work
out that way, the hope springs eternal."
Another poignant issue that Shenk addresses is the dichotomy
between data and knowledge, between publicly available information and public
understanding. One would think that with the assumed use in public knowledge
one would also see a "dramatic expansion in public education over this century"
-- not so he asserts. We are much like a "cargo cult" society in which our
core belief is "that the mere presence of computers will somehow bring learning
back to the classroom." He continues on to say "education is about enlightenment
and not just access." (LAD)
- Thornburg, David D. Edutrends 2010: Restructuring Technology and
the Future of Education. Mountain View, Calif.: Starsong Publications,
- Zerzan, John and Alice Carnes, eds. Questioning Technology: Tool,
Toy, or Tyrant? Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1991.