Democracy requires active work. Every generation has to reclaim it. Educators have a critical function, at a moment when we live in filter bubbles and echo chambers, to create safe spaces and facilitate points of confrontation to break single identities. If we are serious about democracy, it is about how we teach. It is about living democracy in the classroom. It might be timely for teachers to consider whether they model authoritarian leaders, how they might support curricula disobedience and academic freedom, and what their professional code of ethics is.
When we dangle rewards in kids faces, we encourage them to ask, “What do they want me to do, and what do I _get _for doing it?” And when we threaten them with punishments or consequences, we encourage them to ask, “What do they want me to do, and what happens to me if I don’t do it?” Neither question encourages kids to contemplate life in a way we would like to promote, and neither question has anything to do with creating a collaborative community built on caring.
Nolan’s inability to think about others, combined with his obvious self-interest certainly exemplify a primitive level of moral development… but, if the adults in his life subscribe to an equally primitive kind of character development, how can we come to expect anything more? How can we expect kids like Nolan to progress to a higher level of ethical behavior when our dependence on rewards and punishment is precisely what condemns kids to such primitive self-interest.
The story of someone who claims to be able to revolutionize a complex field without possessing relevant expertise seems to have some parallels in education technology.
I’m thinking we should have a similar “first do no harm” threshold for introducing technology into the classroom.
How much ed tech would pass that muster?
Most VCs, Principals, Rectors, and senior managers are not well grounded in ed tech. It is also an area which is subject to extreme views (for and against), often based on emotion, romance, and appeals to ego. I would like to therefore propose a new role: Sensible Ed Tech Advisor. Job role is as follows:
- Ability to offer practical advice on adoption of ed tech that will benefit learners
- Strong BS detector for ed tech hype
- Interpreter of developing trends for particular context
- Understanding of the intersection of tech and academic culture
- Communicating benefits of any particular tech in terms that are valuable to educators and learners
- Appreciation of ethical and social impact of ed tech
And as Audrey Watters highlights tirelessly, an unsceptical approach to ed tech is problematic for many reasons. Far more useful is to focus on specific problems staff have, or things they want to realise, than suggest they just ‘don’t get it’. Having an appreciation for this intersection between ed tech (coming from outside the institution and discipline often) and the internal values and culture is also an essential ingredient in implementing any technology successfully.
Source: Sensible Ed Tech – The Ed Techie
“The willingness of clinicians to go along in the face of great evil is what made it possible for the Nazis to transform the Austrian medical establishment into an industry of death. If you weren’t risking your life by actively resisting, you became complicit in the horror that was created. That’s a heavy lesson for this historical moment, when government officials are routinely asked to ignore norms and ethics to fulfill various agendas.”
The message this sends to the CIA workforce is simple: Engage in war crimes, in crimes against humanity, and you’ll get promoted. Don’t worry about the law. Don’t worry about ethics. Don’t worry about morality or the fact that torture doesn’t even work. Go ahead and do it anyway. We’ll cover for you. And you can destroy the evidence, too.