Friday, 1 February 2013

Utopian v Dystopian #edcmooc #MoocsAndMe

The #edcmooc task for Week 1 is to look at some resources i.e. videos and articles and review whether they represent a Utopian or Dystopian view of technology.
Utopian claims of Information Technology are intrinsically democratizing, neutral as democratizing global forces of information creation and maximize public access. Dystopian claims are that Information Technologies have anti democratic properties, that hardware/software ownership equals anti democratic control etc. etc.
First video - Bendito Machine - the characters treat technology as god like and have no choice but to follow.  It has a certain dark, satanic feel to the film but it was mainly a mixture of weirdly funny and negative 'same old same old' sort of feel, fantastical.  Dystopian.
Second Video - Inbox - funny in a soppy way. I don't think I would have considered it in a technology way although it was about connecting.  It would be great if you could just put an object in a bag and it went immediately. Or a person, teleporting.  Utopian
Third video - New Media - dark fantasy? Purpose? No idea. Dystopian.  
It is easy to make technology seem evil or dark because you can portray it as exerting control or power but I'm not sure that I buy into this view.

Chandler, D. (2002). Technological determinism. Web essay, Media and Communications Studies, University of Aberystwyth.
Technological determinism is the view that technology is seen as the only cause of change in society.  Reductionism / holistic - I usually consider technology and society from a holistic or mutually beneficial point of view but it was interesting to consider it as less advantageous.  It is interesting to think about philosophy and technology - it is a long time since I studied philosophy and then it was religious philosophy.  I hadn't thought that I should stand back and think about technology as a philosophical issue or concept so I'm glad that I read this as it has given me some direction to explore further.
One of the other articles suggested for reading is the infamous Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon, 9/5.
I'm hesitant to revisit this but I know that I should.  The 'digital native' phrase / idea / concept has become so well known not just in learning technology arenas but in common education circles and beyond that it is hard to consider it objectively.  In my opinion, and from the situations I've worked in, the digital native doesn't exist or more accurately does not exist as a clear and distinct entity.  It is not as simple as saying that a certain person born at a certain time when certain technology or digital devices existed is a 'digital native'.  I know from teaching ICT and from managing eLearning and libraries that all people, especially young people approach technology differently.  It is not the original article or research that is the issue, it is the fact that some people who know very little about learning technologies with the best intentions just blurt out the phrase as if it's a fact.  So tomorrow I'm going to read and consider the original and subsequent research again....objectively.

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