History Lesson

I’ve had over three separate comments directed at me over the last two months about how systems like Virtual Learning Environments are a weapon of a creeping new managerialism in academia, and part of the arsenal of the neolibertian machine. Some people interpret messages around these software platforms as a cunning ploy on the part of the institution to replace them with a version of Will Smith’s i Robot. It’s funny, because they never seem to speak about other communication tools like email or telephones in the same way. Maybe the fact that many people see university funding being directed towards roles like “learning technologists” as synonymous with some subliminal message of “Use Blackboard/Moodle/Sakai/Your Institution’s VLE or else…”. Back on planet earth, I’ve never pushed adoption. Faculty can simply use it where they feel it’s appropriate. If they need a hand, they can ask for help. If they have a better system for communicating or interacting online – I’ll actively publicise, support and promote it. I don’t see its use as a validation of the existence of my role, and I know we are going to be looking at very different software and technology coming down the tracks in the next five years.

Engestrom talks about the importance of looking at cultural historical context to understand where we are, and how we got here. Looking behind at the history of the development of educational technologies is fascinating. You can go back even further to the origins of paper and typography itself, but I like this article tracing some of the milestones in more recent times.Read more about the Evolution of Classroom Technology

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