Chapter 25: 2018 Ed Tech’s Dystopian Turn

For this final year of the 25, a trend rather than a technology is the focus. There is in much of ed tech a growing divide, particularly in evidence at conferences. One camp is largely uncritical, seeing ed tech as a sort of Silicon Valley-inspired, technological utopia that will cure all of education’s problems. This is often a reflection-free zone, because the whole basis of this industry is built on selling perfect solutions, often to problems that have been artificially concocted. In contrast to this is a developing strand of criticality around the role of technology in society and in education in particular. This camp can sometimes be guilty of being overly critical, seeking reasons to refute every technology and dismiss any change. However, with the impact of social media on politics, Russian bots, disinformation, data surveillance, and numerous privacy scares, the need for a critical approach is apparent. Being skeptical about technology can no longer be seen as a specialist interest. Read by Anne-Marie Scott.