provocation- to search or not to search

Is there an alternative to Google?

This week’s readings provided a spectrum of the different ways we can analyze digital technology and ethics.
When analyzing digital technologies, we need to include the importance the influence of the biases around tech that are being shaped by men who exclude women and non-whites. I appreciate Noble’s take on how the web is an extended arm of white supremacy, capitalism, heteronormative and hegemonic beliefs. Highlighting how we take for granted and ignore the way the normalization of whiteness and maleness in the domain of digital tech influences us and capital motives by elites. Both media and schools are both concerned with the power of ideas, thus “the films, music, magazines, music videos, television shows, and images and produced by the global entertainment, advertising, and news industries present color-blind racism as natural, normal, and inevitable” (Collins 102). Thus, it is important we push and question our relationship to technology. McMillian touched not his in their article “Teaching Technology: Tressie McMillan Cottom on Coding Schools and the Sociology of Social Media, “
our social networks are shaped as much by things like class and gender and race as they are by our personal interests”. I focused a lot on Nobles reading because I think it is important to not take for granted Google as a main search engine that is biased and influenced by powerful elite groups. The web has been embraced by all age groups and as a tool for networking and exchanging knowledge. It is a main source to many for information and knowledge which shapes the way we see the world and choosing what to ignore. The ways Google reinforces hegemonic narratives and how the web is inevitably white and catered to the male gaze is something to consider when we think about how influences our interactions. It is being used as an extension to maintain capitalism and its belief in this neoliberal age we live in.

Is community control technologies the way to go the way the SPARC article suggested?

Down the Rabbit Hole: what are the stakes, sorts, & sites of digital/info literacy? (provocation)

I was excited for this week’s readings on digital/info literacy as a teacher and as someone who works in adult literacy, where the stakes of these questions are very high. Unlike k-12 or undergraduate education, the only baseline our students meet before they enter into our program is taking an exam to assess their reading, writing, and math. This exam is created by the Data Recognition Corp and can either be taken on the computer (which DRC prefers for instant demographic and scoring info shared with them) or on paper. Because of the age range of our adult students, differences of national origin and subsequent schooling, and computer accessibility, we chose paper and these considerations in incoming students digital literacy is reflected in their classes as well. I bring this up because considerations on digital literacy can mean very different things depending on the site of your work and the populations you work with (i.e. digital literacy probably means something different to you if your job is to help people with HRA applications online).

Focusing a bit more on the content of our readings, in the adult literacy classroom’s I’ve been in the last few years, it has been a real challenge to moderate conversations with the heavy dissemination of conspiracy theories, fake news, and pseudoscientific information because of what student’s have engaged with online. “Informational hubris,” is something I often encounter and this over-estimation of our ability to navigate the internet can lead to a lot of struggle over basic premises in the classroom. 

I am a huge advocate for close and critical reading, but agree with many of the pieces we’ve read that these analytic tools cannot be the main training and response for students and non-experts to detect disinformation, as written about in “Don’t Go Down the Rabbit Hole,” “4 Steps Schools Need to Take to Combat Fake News,” and the challenges stated in “The Black Box Problem.” As an educator, I agree that students are often taught, either explicitly through a digital literacy curriculum or implicitly through modeling from their teachers that, as Michael Caulfield tells Charlie Warzel, “you’ll get imperfect information and then use reasoning to fix that somehow. But in reality, that strategy can completely backfire.” 

I’ve witnessed this strategy background in many of the observations I’ve done in the adult literacy classroom (in writing, science, and social studies classes) where a teacher will be engaging in a meaningful lesson about taking sources critically only to be surprised when students still uphold sources that confirm their ideas at best, or worse, information that is (deeply) factually unfounded. 

A few years ago I went to a series of trainings at Facing History & Ourselves, an organization that does social justice oriented curriculum development, school workshops, and professional development. When I went though, I had some difficulties with the workshop. While many of the historical case studies used were great pieces to bring into classrooms, the facilitator seemed hard-pressed to throw in as many words around information literacy as possible, making slippery comparisons between confirmation bias, implicit bias, biased sources, and bigotry. After the workshop I spoke to her at length, where she explained that the whole organization was struggling with their central mission of creating lessons that address racism, anti-semitism, and prejudice historically, and their financial needs. The schools that hired them for workshops wanted them to talk about “bias”— biased news, biased sources, biased attitudes, and how to combat that, easily in a few hours. The close reading exercises for media literacy were supposed to be about detecting the bad apple of “bias” and what students often came out of the workshop is something along the lines of “everything but Nat Geo is biased one way or another.” With the directive from the schools and the “language” that was both safe and popular for seemingly progressive educators seeking out these trainings, the Facing History staff were still trying to figure out how to shift from conversations about bias to the values embedded in different pieces of media: political values, social values, values around information accessibility and sourcing, etc.. The market the facilitator talked about was one I was reminded of this weekend in the NY State mandated workshop on Dignity for All Students (DASA) for NY state certified teachers. In the 6 hour workshop, every conversation about “difference” was followed by how to cultivate school climates of kindness for bullying, bias, and harassment prevention. 

This treatment of media/information literacy is often about the glitch that Ruha Benjamin articulates for us where, for students, the “glitch” is that they “accidentally” clicked on the fake news, uncredited forum, or biased article. This accident or glitch obscures that tech companies have a financial interest in giving white supremacist, transphobic, sexist, pseudoscientifc, and violent content movement and easy sharability on their platforms and students need transparency on this. And while I agree heavily with the advocacy for lateral reading and Michael Caulfield’s prescription that (for the average person), “Whenever you give your attention to a bad actor, you allow them to steal your attention from better treatments of an issue, and give them the opportunity to warp your perspective,” there is also huge algorithmic risk as the uncredentialed, racist, pseudoscientific, or other sources of disinformation will be increasingly advertised to you. Those risks, of what happens when media literacy doesn’t also focus on the social and infrastructural conditions that information proliferates in, as (Ruha Benjamin highlighted) Christina Sharpe tells voices for us her book In the Wake: On Blackness & Being:

“In the United States, slavery is imagined as a singular event even as it changed over time and even as its duration expands into supposed emancipation and beyond. But slavery was not singular; it was, rather, a singularity—a weather event or phenomenon likely to occur around a particular time, or date, or set of circumstances. Emancipation did not make free Black life free; it continues to hold us in that singularity. The brutality was not singular; it was the singularity of anti-blackness.

Singularity: a point or region of infinite mass density at which space and time are infinitely distorted by gravitational forces and which is held to be the final state of matter falling into a black hole. (Merriam-Webster Online)

In what I am calling the weather, anti-blackness is pervasive as climate. The weather necessitates changeability and improvisation; it is the atmospheric condition of time and place; it produces new ecologies.” (You can read more here).

While I agree heavily with curricular frameworks on lateral reading and SIFT, I wonder about how we as educators navigation attempts at ideological neutrality of information/digital literacy curriculums. Additionally, even these don’t address the complicated ways student’s get information. Here are a few:

  • A friend who is a HS biology teacher has been trying to develop a curriculum around pseudoscience when she realized her students primary Covid and sexual health information has been gained through TikTok. 
  • According to a recent study done by the Anti-Defamation League: “Our data indicate that exposure to videos from extremist or white supremacist channels on YouTube remains disturbingly common. Though some high-profile channels were taken down by YouTube before our study period, approximately one in ten participants viewed at least one video from an extremist channel (9.2%) and approximately two in ten (22.1%) viewed at least one video from an alternative channel.2 Moreover, when participants watch these videos, they are more likely to see and follow recommendations to similar videos.” 
  • For anyone navigating the internet, there are deep issues with both user’s data, privacy, and consent being exploited, and issues of data as a public good, freedom of information, and the need for it to be accessible to oppressed communities as highlighted by Data 4 Black Lives and in their Open Letter.
  • Besides navigating the internet in informed ways, we know especially during remote learning that reliable internet access is not equally distributed and many low income students struggle for access.
  • Accessibility on the internet also means different things depending on the user’s abilities. Digital literacy could also be connected to something like a campaign to make sure all images has alt text, all videos have captioning, etc.. 

I am super excited to see what ya’ll bring to the table re: your own educational and work spaces. Any and all responses are welcome and I am looking forward to seeing whatever stood out for you in the readings.

If you are looking for a question to structure your response, some things I am curious about are:

  • What values and topics need to be central to a digital/information literacy curriculum (For everyone? For you?) This will probably not look the same for each student age-group, or each discipline. What about for yours?
  • If you teach, in what classes do you teach would a module on digital/information literacy be most meaningful?
  • Depending on your institutional teaching home, is there a particular location that should be responsible for digital/info literacy? For example, in an imaginary world where these sites could receive extra funding, would it be your school’s Teaching & Learning Center, the IT department, the library, etc.. 
  • How would you evaluate a good or well-rounded digital/info literacy curriculum? Is it multimedia based, does it culminate in a research project, a quiz or test, and art project, is it group-based, or something else?
  • Do these workshops happen at the schools you’ve taught? What have you witnessed; what do you think of them?
  • Should the standards you’ve suggested be university/school/district wide? Or should departments have control with their digital/info literacy curricular formation and dissemination?

Provocation: Digital literacy and Vulnerability

When I initially sat down to write this provocation, I came up just a little blank. Of course students need to learn internet and information literacy. Of course we’re coming up short. Of course we see inconsistencies among students, implying that people across the socio-economic spectrum have different levels of access to web literacy. To put it bluntly; I struggled to come up with an observation (or a provocation) that wasn’t just reinforcement of the fact that fake news is bad.

So, I arrived here. I want to address a few separate issues here. My hope is to come up with questions as I write down my thoughts.

  1. The issue of human vulnerability
  2. The question of internet literacy, academia, and pedagogy
  3. The unspoken systemic issues at the heart of the disparities in the above

I also want to note that, although I don’t focus on it here, I was deeply interested in the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. I want to draw attention to it despite my lack of direct engagement.

1. These readings overwhelmingly focus on a nexus of problems that the internet presents its users, but don’t substantially unpack why users are so vulnerable to those problems.

In college, I took a course about thinking, judgement, and decision making. This class, ostensibly about psychology, functioned as a crash course in the fallibility of human thought. We call these fallibilities “heuristics,” a term laden with a sort of delightful irony—the word ‘heuristic’ comes from the Greek εὑρίσκω, which means “I discover” or “I find.” It shares a root with “eureka.” At their core, heuristics are cognitive short-cuts developed over millennia of evolution. In a certain way, heuristics are brilliant, incredible facets of the human mind. They allow us to make effective decisions and judgements in as little time as possible. Yet, these heuristics in no way evolved to manage the onslaught of information that we encounter in the contemporary age.

When I think about that class in conjunction with this week’s readings, I first think my professor, Barry Schwartz, who made a name for himself giving a series of TedTalks and lectures about the paradox of choice—the idea that the more choices people get, the more paralyzed they become. I think about the fact that the sheer quantity of information—the sheer volume of sources on the internet—renders our ability to discern between sources inert. There are simply too many options; the human mind must be overwhelmed or paralyzed. So, how do we resolve this paralysis? Unfortunately, I suspect that this is where other heuristics come into play. Confirmation bias and the availability heuristic seem to be the most likely candidates. The former pushes us to choose sources that support our existing beliefs, and the latter pushes us to overestimate the likelihood of certain events or ideas based on our personal attachment or memory of them. Pile on the backfire effect (wherein people react to evidence that undermines their beliefs by clinging more firmly to those beliefs) and the self-relevance effect (wherein information that pertains to ourselves and our beliefs is more easily retained than information that is not immediately relevant), and we have a perfect storm of impossibility.

In other words, even given internet literacy, it is incredibly difficult to overcome the cognitive biases that help us make choices, retain information, and establish beliefs.

2. Given this, I found myself perseverating on the impossibility of teaching effective internet and information literacy; we’re essentially attempting to override cognitive short-cuts that are hard-wired into our brains. On the one hand, we absolutely should be teaching children how to spot problematic sources or sources that exploit cognitive biases. On the other, there’s something so tragically cynical about the fact that we have to teach young children to approach all information with skepticism rather than wonder. Of course we should be using systems like SIFT (effectively a heuristic itself) to simplify the process of identifying legitimate and misleading information.

When I teach my students how to write a paper, I devote two weeks (at least) to source finding and research. I walk them through the differences between an academic source, a news-source, fake news, blogs, opinions, and so on. I expect them to learn the difference between spurious and legitimate sources, but I also find myself cringing a little at the implications. I seem to be placing the onus of truth and truth-finding (and thus, in a way, the act of “constructing authority”) on my students rather than on the world at large.

My immediate response is that I hope to live in a world where people care about the information they absorb. That is, I do think that digital literacy is essential—but I’m not sure what the difference is between digital literacy and critical thinking. In other words, I find myself wondering what the difference is between digital and text-based literacy. I find myself suspecting that when we talk about one, we’re essentially talking about the other. Obviously, the modalities and methodologies are different (a tweet is not a handwritten note, after all, and a painting has a different provenance than a doctored or stolen photo), but the sense of it is the same; applying critical thinking to the information we absorb.

3. Finally, I want to briefly address the fact that, although one of these readings discussed race and socio-economic factors in coding and digital artifacts, none addressed the gap in digital literacy across the socio-economic spectrum. I am not an expert here, but I do want to draw attention to this lacuna.

Across the board, research has found persistent disparities in digital literacy across socio-economic strata. Lower-income students, for example, are limited to less expensive devices that do not enable simultaneous tab examination, leading them to engage deeply with only one source at a time rather than a broad spectrum. Likewise, internet access is inconsistent in lower-income households—a fact that has become aggressively apparent during the pandemic

danah boyd, a researcher at Microsoft and visiting professor at NYU, noted in an interview with the Columbia Journalism Review that “The internet is reinforcing already existing structural divides.” That is, new technologies amplify extant problems, especially in situations where parents don’t have the literacy (digital or text) “interpret what’s true and what’s not. They don’t even necessarily have the critical apparatus to ask the right questions about what they see” (reading this quote, I find myself asking what the “right” questions are, anyway).

So, given all these thoughts, I find myself asking a few questions:

  1. What are the heuristics (or mental short-cuts) we use when sifting through the massive amount of information online?
  2. When you think about the way you interact with the internet, do you encounter feelings of abundance? Paralysis? How might digital literacy engage with each of those feelings? (I’m aware this is a “bad question”—a biased one. I still think it’s important.)
  3. Is digital literacy different from text-based literacy? Different from critical thinking?
  4. 4. How much responsibility do we have in generating plans for literacy? How much responsibility do our students have in reproducing or producing information?
  5. How can we close the gap in literacy across the socio-economic spectrum? (This is, I suspect, unanswerable—but if we could dream/dare/etc., how might we BEGIN?)
  6. What are the results we want to see in such a plan?
  7. Finally, who is digital literacy for?

PROVOCATION: What is science and how do we do it?

I have to start this provocation with acknowledging how exciting it was to see resources supporting the ideas I’ve been working with for years. The AAAS’s “Vision and Change” guide on undergraduate biology education is actually something I’ve read back when I was in undergrad when I was working on a project to rewrite lab curriculum. The research paper “Engaging students in Authentic Microbiology Research…” was also a great read because not only was it a format of paper I felt comfortable reading, it was a great example of the research going on in pedagogy. As we’ve talked about many times in class, it’s really hard to get more senior professors on board with new pedagogical techniques. When it comes to scientists, who KNOW research is constantly reviewing, critiquing, and putting forward new theories, having pedagogical research in a research paper format with statistical analysis they’re used to is really important to push these pedagogical techniques forward in the field.

The most accessible parts of this week’s reading were the Science Forward videos and the Washington Post article, so I assume that’s what most of you engaged in and connected with. One of the moments of these videos that made me cringe was hearing about “numbers sense” and how you can’t do science without math because math is “the language of science.” While math is used frequently in science, it’s typically simple math that you repeat a lot, so once you get used to the calculation, you do it all the time. Obviously statistics are a huge part of research, but as a PhD student, I haven’t ever been required to take a statistics course. Everything in science is about collaboration and asking for help from labs who are more experienced. We do that with statistics as well. We show our data to experienced statisticians and ask for help. Considering so many people place themselves in the box of either “math people” or “creative people,” I think opening with the idea that you need to be good at math to do science was odd to throw into this video about public engagement in science.

Science is constantly changing, and the foundation of science is that there are multiple theories, and we’re always working to support our theories. The public perception can sometimes be that we’re just “changing our minds” all the time, but really, we’re updating our ideas. In any other field, like history for example, as we learn through storytelling or finding old primary sources, we start to realize how marginalized groups have made major contributions that have been erased by the majority who write the textbooks. We have to update history. We also have to update science. My research topic specifically focuses on a protein, called APOL1. This protein protects us against infection by a parasite called the African Trypanosome. The trypanosomes have evolved to outsmart our immune system, with a few species that are able to now infect humans (causing African Sleeping Sickness). Humans evolved back, and there are multiple variants of APOL1 that will protect you against these other species. However, this comes at a cost. These specific variants cause you to be more likely to develop end stage kidney failure. African Trypanosomes live mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa, meaning people in Africa/people of African descent are more likely to have this variant that protects against more species of parasite, and therefore have the variant that is associated with kidney disease. This all comes with a huge caveat: that this one small variant in this one protein does NOT mean an individual will absolutely have kidney disease, there are many, MANY, other environmental and genetic factors. However, this science has been manipulated, because it hasn’t been communicated properly, and it’s often the foundation of the argument that “black people are more likely to have kidney disease” that is all over the medical field. It’s critical for scientists to continuously update our language and theories to match the current world we live in, in order to build that trust between scientists and the public, and to prevent these biases from continuing to persist. 

Confirmation bias was described in the Science Forward video as how we accept the information that conforms with our world view. Based on this research paper I read last semester, the authors describe how people tend to form ideas based on what they perceive to fit into their group’s belief system. I think this definition is really important because it outlines the requirement of a diverse team of science communicators who can communicate science to their communities with the cultural competency to ensure that the information is passed along in a way to fit their belief system.


What science do you see in your day to day life? Do you ever think of yourself as “doing” science? Based on the definition from the Science Forward videos of “asking questions and making hypotheses and testing them,” do you “do” science? 

How do we strike a balance of encouraging people to be skeptical of science but also to trust scientists? We always say scientists are “peer reviewing”, but is that accessible to the general public?

My PI (principal investigator aka “boss”) always says “we never confirm a hypothesis, we test it.” How do you feel about the way science is designed to always be changing? Does that impact your ability to trust it? Does that make you trust it more? Do you perceive science to have this ability, or do you see it as stagnant? 


Some of my favorite science communicators on social media that you should follow!

Raven the Science Maven, generally awesome content on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, but, here’s a song about antibodies to the tune of Body by Megan Thee Stallion 

KizzyPhD, one of the amazing scientists behind the mRNA COVID vaccine

Jessica Malaty Rivera, MS, an incredible science communicator who frequently posts very thorough explanations of COVID tracking, vaccines, treatments, etc.


I really appreciated learning about the resources and reading the articles on open access education. I had never used Open@CUNY prior to this week and I was amazed at how thorough it is. I will definitely share it with students. While reading and going through this week’s materials, I kept thinking about their relation to Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed and particularly about how Open Access affects individuals from  different roles within academia and people outside of academia. Certainly for students, Open Access textbooks are a “godsend.” In theory, the same can be said for professors who want their students to read certain books or articles without restriction since OA/OER lifts the financial strain that serves an obstacle to learning. However, as Leslie Chan points out the economic conversation (e.g., cost models, etc.) are overshadowing the conversion about OA’s core principle of free access to knowledge. The costs of production are not something that can be totally ignored even if authors and universities are happy to make their research and books free to access. Chan states that “the irony is that while Open Access was supposed to improve the two-way models of knowledge access and dissemination, what we are seeing is that some models are creating new divides. For instance, these days, many OA models are now requiring that the authors themselves pay the (often exorbitant) fee to make their work openly accessible. The problem with this model is that it is simply re-solidifying the status quo, even more restrictively” Having authors pay exorbitant fees is certainly problematic for the democratic production of knowledge, it is likely to alienate any who cannot afford to share their knowledge. However, according to Peter Suber “most peer-reviewed open access journals charge no fees at all”. There are a few that may charge publication fees but they seem to be in the minority and based on the informative powerpoint from Jill Cirasella, when publication fees are charged by OA journals, they normally are not paid by the authors. Crisella mentions that a benefit of OA is that it is not exploitative. Indeed, if authors have to pay hefty fees this will limit access to and production of knowledge as we do see happening with traditional journal publishers. I was shocked to learn that when a paper is published by a typical well-established journal that the author/s essentially forfeit copyrights. I have published a few things when I did research and my PI never shared this apparent fact which is an apparently common practice. I actually tried to find some of the research I worked on after I ditched research for a career in teaching but I had to pay to access it so those articles were “forever lost”- or so I thought. This week’s readings made me try again and I am happy to report that most of my old research work (i.e., papers I co-authored)  is now OA, freely available probably more so because it’s old than any other reason as my PI was definitely the type that might shy away from OA due to career concerns.  Chan describes the issue that arises of “whose knowledge is considered most “legitimate.”… encouraging a definition of openness as a process rather than a set of conditions that need to be met. It is an adaptive and dynamic process, and one that is always changing…people have their own careers to worry about. And it is often their own careers that take precedence over their principles. And because they do well in their careers, they also advise their students to follow the same trajectories and not to take risks. So, it’s a cycle”. Those that fear change or fear being seen as less rigorous as a result of being published in OA journals rather than traditional journals are misguided in their anxiety. As noted by Suber, “open access journals can be first-rate: the quality of a scholarly journal is a function of its authors, editors, and referees, not its business model or access policy”. Those who worry that their careers will suffer by going OA are simply misinformed and need to get with the times. I suspect they are clinging to the old ways because they came up under the “banking concept” of Education that Paulo Freire criticized for its “attempts to control thinking and action, leads men and women to adjust to the world, and inhibits their creative power.” Open Access, in principle, contradicts the banking concept directly by extending control over thinking and action by allowing free publication (action) and free access (thinking) of authors and ultimately encouraging more creativity as views and research are shared freely. However, because we are in a capitalist system- the conversations about OA itself conceptually, socially, academically may get hijacked by conversations about what the business models should be, as Chan criticizes, which they are missing the point of how OA does/should/can invite “diverse stakeholders’ participation in knowledge production processes”. I do believe that the public has a right to view and learn from research and/ or resources that were funded by taxpayer dollars (also private dollars but at least taxpayer dollars); however, as was noted when we covered MOOCs & POOCs, having access does not ensure development of content knowledge or an even an educated public. I think that we need to consider a highly diverse stakeholder group when we think about open access education. Of course thinking about the college student is first on our mind as being able to pay for a textbook may be essential to learning content for a given course but making knowledge accessible to the general public and all of the stakeholder types that that entails has a different value and may need to have different forms of accessibility. Schools (at least every high school I ever worked in) tend to conflate intellectual ability with pursuing college,  and I have at times found myself questioning why we educators tend to push every student to pursue higher ed almost in a way that suggests that professions which don’t require degrees are made up of intellectually inferior/incapable people.  I think that part of Open Access as a movement requires us to delve into this bias which is common among the academically elite (although it may not be openly stated) otherwise we would not have any researchers avoiding OA publication and favoring long established fee-charging journal publishers because of fears about their careers, they would not have to choose their careers over their principles.

What does it mean to make knowledge accessible to the public, not just the academically engaged public of students and professors, but the rest of it? 

Who are the stakeholders that should be considered when implementing OA education?

How do/can we manage the knowledge production process within OA so that it is democratic enough to challenge the banking concept of the student-teacher relationship while at the same time “improving the two-way models of knowledge access and dissemination” that Chan cites?

How can we as educators and students do this while also allowing an open and ongoing “talk about the value — in particular the nonmarket social value — of public higher education” that Robyn DeRosa highlights.

If we do, a DeRosa implies we must, “begin to explore the distinctions between a knowledge commons and a public education system,” what do you think that the distinctions would look like? 

If our goal is an educated (not necessarily credentialed) public capable of digesting information in a way that makes us all (or the majority of citizens) immune to misinformation, how do we establish this using OA/OER for a “knowledge commons” vs public education system?

Provocation: What can OER do?

(A bit of stream of consciousness here, so I apologize for the length and any scattered thoughts…)

I really enjoyed the readings this week and am excited to talk with everyone about a topic that is on my mind all the time. In particular, I appreciated the reflection and critique in Chan’s “Confessions of an OA Advocate,” and would like to continue to think about a few other issues present in the open landscape, with an emphasis on Open Educational Resources.

As an OER librarian, I find OER and the open “movement” in general to be valuable. Every day I see and hear about the ways that OER positively impact students’ learning experiences and lead teaching faculty members to redesign their courses with an eye towards greater equity. That being said, we ask OER to do a lot. I often question whether OER really do all that OER advocates claim, and whether OER content and labor practices in OER work reflect the purported values of openness. I want to move away from the assumption that all things “open” are inherently good. 

Let’s start with some claims about OER. OER (and openness/“universal access to information” in general) is said to “contribute to peace, sustainable social and economic development, and intercultural dialogue,” (UNESCO) advance social justice, be a “social equalizer and pedagogical disruptor,” (Almeida 2017), and to somehow solve the systemic issues in higher education and knowledge production and dissemination. But does OER (or OA, open data, etc.) actually accomplish these things? 

I am not totally convinced that OER represent a meaningful challenge to the status quo in education. OER do not remove the significant barriers to learning and wellbeing that exist in many of our students’ (and our) lives. I wonder if, by using OER as a marketing tool, higher education administrators benefit from OER just as much (if not more than?) students. OER can be a wonderful enhancement to learning, but they are not a replacement for a well-funded (tuition free!!) system. 

I sometimes feel that the open “movement” has placed too much emphasis on access, with the assumption that with the right information, there is nothing holding us back improving the quality of our learning and the quality of our lives. But greater access to information does not equal liberation. 

At CUNY, the vast majority of OER initiatives, including faculty course redesign initiatives, are funded by a New York state grant that is renewed yearly. While this funding has a meaningful impact on CUNY faculty members’ ability to develop and curate open resources, the funding structure and relatively short timeframe limits what faculty members are able to do. Typically faculty members are paid to redesign individual courses with open materials, but are  not given the time or money to develop original open content in their field of expertise. This leaves significant gaps in OER content. 

Content-wise, OER are not necessarily more likely to include more diverse voices than commercial textbooks. In my experience, many open textbooks in fields like history uphold the status quo and often provide a whitewashed, colonial version of history. I can probably count on one hand the number of open textbooks about topics like LGBTQ+ history. Of course, OER give faculty the flexibility to add these perspectives to their courses, but there is already a lot of labor involved in redesigning courses with open materials, so in practice I see very few teaching faculty members adapting or remixing open resources. 

All of this leads me to the next issue in the CUNY OER world… labor (surprise!)! I’ll preface this by saying that, as far as I know, all of the OER programs run out of CUNY libraries do pay both FT and PT teaching faculty to redesign their courses with open materials and (sometimes – see above) to create open materials. Still, finding open materials, updating courses, adapting and remixing materials, and especially creating materials is a LOT of work. Given that the labor required to create OER is largely not valued in tenure and promotion process, it’s not sustainable for faculty to invest time and energy on OER. 

In addition to faculty labor, there is of course the labor of training and maintenance, which is largely done by individuals working in libraries and teaching and learning centers across CUNY. At CUNY, *adjunct* librarians do a lot of this labor! These adjuncts are paid through the aforementioned state grant, so we can also have a conversation about the undervaluing of OER and openness by New York state and CUNY, and, by extension, the sustainability of OER programming. 

Further complicating matters, there is also the issue of unseen and uncompensated student labor in the case of student-created OER.     

I’ll end this provocation by encouraging us to think about what OER and other open materials can and do actually accomplish, and how we can make the whole system of openness more equitable locally and globally. What other issues and inequities might come up when information (/knowledge) is free (as in beer or as in speech)? 

Almeida, Nora. “Open Educational Resources and Rhetorical Paradox in the Neoliberal Univers(ity).” Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies 1 (2017).

Provocation: On More Modest Grief

“The most successful students we spoke with saw themselves as active constructors of and participants in their own academic taskscapes.”

Smale and Regalado, Digital Technology as Affordance and Barrier in Higher Education

The work of Smale and Regalado predates COVID. Yet, in this week that marks a year since life moved online, their work feels relevant as a spark for reflecting on how we teachers did, and what we do next. What’s our takeaway a year into this confrontation of an urgent, terrifying crisis? What have we learned over the course of a yearlong series of heartbreaking tradeoffs?

The relevance of last week’s quote to this week’s reading is clear enough to me: Institutions and their educational technologies of choice rarely imagine students as “participants” or “constructors” of taskscapes, but consumers.

Once or twice in the last twelve months, I suspect you’ve encountered (or embodied) this through the figure of a less-than-agile participant in “emergency remote teaching” (Hodges, Moore, Lockee, Trust, Bond). Those of us teaching in those early days recognized quickly—and hopefully reminded ourselves, kindly and often—that the “triage” nature of this shift “exclude[d] the possibility of excellence” (Young). As we might discuss in class, educational technology sometimes had a role in that exclusion, too.

So that’s a hot take on a thread connecting these readings to our last set. One thread within the readings I’d like to underscore is about grief. COVID, for its ghastly death toll, has also created countless “missing” everyday moments, more modest griefs: a professor missing the way physical heads nodding along (or not) to a lesson shaped her teaching for the better (McMurtrie); a student who has realized how “[b]asketball really helped my depression, and I can’t play it now” (Ferlazzo); the City College campus counselor forced to fit into one, weekly 30-minute Zoom call the essential check-ins with colleagues that happened between appointments over five days in 90-second increments (Ayisire). Those losses are real—”minor feelings” are feelings nonetheless—and grieving the fact that certain experiences may never come back will take the candid work of a whole campus, and the meaningful participation of the communities beyond its gates. 

Taskscapes; trauma; care; equity. Throw in “uncertainty” and that gives us about the range of topics that any talk about teaching in this time entails. Below are some questions along those lines, which draw on these readings to process what has been, to recall what was before, to think about what could be—and to start articulating what we might use this new wisdom to fight to achieve. 

  • How can instructors (and, by extension, departments and institutions) fairly assess and equitably ameliorate “learning loss”? What’s a way to balance what really didn’t get learned  with honest recognition of the deep trauma of our COVID year (Ciep, Ellis, Gluckman)? 
  • Related: What structures and practices can center student experiences and voices (c.f. Ferzallo) in determining the balance of intellectual and emotional loss in the administrative process of assessment and the pedagogical process of its (partial) amelioration? And how can instructors using care-based, trauma-informed methods also make space for students who, legitimately, just want to move on, catch up, and get on with things?
  • What’s the role of technology, particularly “enterprise” solutions, in short-term or even one-time fixes (ie: access to course content via a smartphone, or holding an office hour over Zoom)? How do/did/will individual instructors, departments, and institutions balance the benefit of these convenient but corporate tools (looking at you, Google Drive) in supporting “valuable human relationships—relationships necessary for child development” (Watters)? 
  • Related: In your field, what tools are less focused on “watching, monitoring, and controlling” and more focused on deepening those relationships and extending the relational into a content area–an intellectual tradition and its ways of making knowledge or a professional field and its ethics and practices? 
  • Many, many P-12 students will arrive at CUNY campuses with existing digital literacy around “enterprise technology.” To what extent is an explicit conversation about data privacy, affordances, design, and epistemology appropriate to be part of the college students’ general digital literacy education? How can this be done without discounting the value of that literacy?
  • What are the “affordances” of the extended look into P-12 classrooms that families, especially Black families, have gotten into the minute-by-minute pedagogy of their children’s lives? If the cinder block buildings with un-opening windows that typify public school construction felt unsafe physically (as Farah Despeignes suggests) and if “many Black parents still see the education system as punitive” (Shapiro, Green, Kim, emphasis mine), then how can the thoughtful critiques of engaged, observant parents reshape that learning in a participatory way? (I emphasize her ‘still’ to note that inequities go way back in the NYC schools; see Nice White Parents, etc). What are the mechanisms for communities to be involved in such technology centered school reforms, and what role might colleges like CUNY have in supporting it?
    • Related, but speculative: Speaking recently with the Times’ Ezra Klein, the surgeon general of California Dr. Nadine Burke Harris noted that COVID has caused directly or indirectly  level of childhood trauma difficult to quantify but certain to impact this generation for years to come: shaping social interaction, affecting long-term, health, shortening life spans. Given that: How do college instructors consider this interruption on childhood development in the adults these children become? 
  • Bonus: The “heir conditioner” (B. F. Skinner Qtd in Watters). No question here, just…discuss. 

Note/Nudge/Poke/Plea: I really like blogs as conversation starters so I purposely kept this as short as I could. (I know, it’s not that short. Short for an English doctoral student though?)  I also posted it as soon as I felt like it was ready to go. (Paul Hollywood might still call it underbaked). Anyway, I’d love to hear short replies back from people any time on Sunday. Even 200 of your lovely words will feel to me like I am basking in warm sunshine! A paragraph? Didn’t Strunk & White call the paragraph is the basic unit of composition? (Spoiler: They did). Seriously, I’m excited to see y’all (hey Texas!) respond to literally whatever in this you find, uh, provocative.

A provocation: Are DT the cure-all in order to bring forward sub-altern identities in education and politics?

I found Bailey’s “All the Digital Humanists Are White, All the Nerds Are Men, but Some of Us Are Brave”, Tufekci’s Twitter and Tear Gas, and Jackson’s Hashtag Activism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice very intimately related since the three bring forward the power of Digital Technologies to unsettle the until now centered hegemonies of education’s male white identity politics according to Bailey, abusive governments as described by Tufekci, and mainstream media following the work of Jackson, Bailey and Welles.
Q1: Are DT the cure-all in order to bring forward sub-altern identities to the cultural debate? (Ricardo) how does it work with the rise connectivism in the teaching experience? (Lidia)
I strongly agree with Tufekci and Bailey and the fact that one must be cautious since DT is just a tool and us as educators or actvists are ultimately “the square pegs that expose the unacknowledged round holes”, namely, us as political agents within the realm of education or activism are ultimately in charge of using the methods and making the room for this until now obscured identities to come forward and develop their own center of the conversation.
Likewise, I found interesting Tufekci’s argument regarding the threats of DT when used by perpetrators. Ultimately, proponents of those hegemonic white centers of power are not going to keep using camels as in the case of Tahir square but will engage in more savvy ways of using DT to fight back any decentering of this hegemonic identities such as demonizing online mediums, and mobilizing armies of supporters or paid employees who muddy the online waters with misinformation, information glut, doubt, confusion, harrasment, and distraction and making it hard for ordinary people to navigate the networked public sphere.
Q2: What specific new methods should we follow as educators in our own fields under this new set of rules to generate equity in education?
Moreover, Tofekci also mentions the fact that these DT’s are always mediated by Ad-supported searching engines that will re-center once again power to anyone who is still in possesion of capital. In this sense I beliebe this is not the end of mono-centric or nation-state sanctioned identities but an opportunity to distabilize these that one must handle with caution under a different set of rules applied to a relatively similar context.
Q3: Are there other paths beyond the use of free software that we as educator should be embracing in order to keep hegemonic subjects from acquiring full control in this Digital Technology based era?
Regarding this matter I found Bailey’s mention of reaching girls of color in elementary and middle school with opportunities to engage STEM before they are tracked away from it, or the work of #transformDH or the promise of THATCamp Theory very inspiring. Follwing the work of these scholars I strongly believe the use of free software that is not mediated by corporations (Adobe, Google, TurnItIn, Microsoft) is one of the keys in order to “make room at the table” and provide the necessary frameworks and skills for our students to develop their own spaces. In sum, and following Tofekci’s work, Digital Technologies or open participation afforded by social media does not always mean equal participation, and it certainly does not mean a smooth process.
Q4: Is the digital realm the only perspective that should be interrogated within Digital Humanities regarding the rise of Digital Technologies?
I wanted to quickly mention Bailey’s statement on the fact that the study of DT as a field does not neccesarily mean exclusively interrogating digital realities. Since DT’s are producing a myriad of inequities in real life such as  the exploitation of indigenous women’s labor in the construction of digital devices, the alienated labor of people of color in the production of technology or structures that impede women from connecting to digital humanities. I wonder if as scholars this perspective can teach us a useful lesson ir order to look at some until now blindspots regarding problems in real life that our students must be suffering following the rise of DT.
Q5: Are there other inequities in real life generated by the rise of Digital Technologies that we as educators should be paying attention?

A provocation: From information-based teaching to community-oriented learning

“The pipe is more important than the content within the pipe.” (Quote from George Siemens, Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age, 2004, and image taken from Stephen Downes’s presentation: The Elements of Connectivism, 2011).

Today’s readings made me think about an issue I personally grappled with since I started teaching in the Fall semester of 2020: the notion that a lot of my/our success as educators depends on my/our ability to facilitate student’s engagement. This has been particularly challenging for me because I had never taught before, and also because I had to learn on the go not only how to be a teacher, but also how to teach online when most of my own experience as a student had taken place in person.

But my situation is far from unique. In “Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age,” George Siemens outlines how educational institutions and workplaces, students, teachers and workers alike, have had to transform the way they learn, teach and prepare for the workforce in a world where people’s ability to learn new skills is more important than the skills they already possess. If what we teach students might be irrelevant or outdated in just a few years, Siemens suggests, it is our capacity to teach them how to learn what will help them thrive, more than the pieces of information we can provide them.

The question here turns from what we teach, what content we tell our students to memorize and critically engage with, to how we present that information in a way that empowers students to actively participate rather than passively receive data and information. This shift from the “what” to the “how” also entails a big question about how we intentionally incorporate technology into our classrooms, especially now that we are teaching online. How can we use Zoom, Blackboard, emails, search engines, online translators, Google forms, social media networks, computers, mobile devices, screens, microphones, to empower our students to use their voices and minds in liberating ways rather than oppressive ones? I think this is particularly important for the student population we work with, the CUNY students who for example feel more comfortable not turning their cameras or microphones on while in class, and therefore cannot participate in small group activities or in class discussions, because they live with elder relatives or small children that require their attention or make noise while they are in class.

One of the game-changing decisions I have made in my class this semester was to open up breakout rooms for students to work together in every session, as opposed to what I used to do last semester when I would assign activities for them to work individually. I now let them talk and interact with each other for at least 5 minutes three times per class, before we check the answers for grammar or sentence formation exercises. And I am happy to provide them with that online space for them to engage and talk, even if they are not necessarily talking about my class content exclusively. In the midst of a global pandemic and socially distanced life, I bet they appreciate that space. If they are not learning Spanish grammar, at least they will practice how to be social.

According to Siemens (2004), “Connectivism is the integration of principles explored by chaos, network, and complexity and self-organization theories. Learning is a process that occurs within nebulous environments of shifting core elements – not entirely under the control of the individual. Learning (defined as actionable knowledge) can reside outside of ourselves (within an organization or a database), is focused on connecting specialized information sets, and the connections that enable us to learn more are more important than our current state of knowing.” I did not know the meaning of “connectivism” as stated by Siemens before reading his texts, and certainly not when I made the decision to prioritize student collaboration, but this semester my students’ engagement has increased. Some of them have even asked for additional homework assignments.

I’d like to end my provocation by inviting you all to think of what you can do to transition from traditional (online) teaching/learning models, those that have largely shaped us as students, to other models that foster engagement and personal network formations as goals rather than tools. What pedagogical opportunities and what challenges emerge while trying to use the technologies our institutions have provided us? How can we effectively transition from information-based teaching to more experiential and community-oriented learning?


(I want to apologize for making this post extremely long, I really loved this week’s readings, and they all tugged at my “teacher heart strings”, as I went through them, feelings of hope and despair popped up and excessive self-reflection took place. I decided in keeping with Joseph Ugoretz’s implied philosophy on the use of discussion boards, that it would still be ok to post it, but again, sorry about the length, I will try to keep it short the next time)

I especially appreciated Warner’s piece, “The Problem of Technology Hype” and Waters’s piece, “Hippocratic Oath for Ed Tech”. Often in the excitement about technological solutions for learning, the problems (e.g., the failures of adaptive instruction, the need for compassion, etc.) identified by these authors are ignored although they are very real to instructors who attempt to carry out these tech-infused learning processes.

What pedagogical opportunities does the integration of technology into the classroom make possible?

I have an ongoing and very real love-hate relationship with ed-tech. I love it enough to say that it I would rather not teach without the used of technology (I have done so but I’d rather not). Technology gives educators huge opportunities for developing and implementing differentiation and scaffolding strategies (assuming there are enough components that the teacher can customize). That said, it does not necessarily make this process more efficient since not every teacher or every student may be able to figure out how to use specific more technologies more quickly than the time it may take to learn a given skill without the aid of tech tools ; however, it certainly offers robust opportunities to implement these strategies, potentially at scale. Technology can offer more opportunities for scholars, students and teachers to share and collaborate across vast distances and this would not be feasible without technology.

The first time I gained access to smartboards and later ipads as a teacher, I was teaching all core subjects to students classified as “intellectually disabled” in a self-contained special education class. Prior to that I was working with a blackboard and chalk and very old textbooks that were way beyond the reading level of the students they were meant to be used by. The majority of my students were functioning at a pre-k to 3rd grade reading level, while only 2 students functioned at 5th to 6th grade levels. Technology allowed me to make stories/books from higher grade levels more accessible to students functioning at lower grade levels. For instance I used a software that allowed me utilize text to speech features as well as automatically highlighting words or phrases as they were read aloud by the software, and adjusting the reading speeds of the computer. All of this made it easier for me to teach literacy to struggling readers and improved engagement and retention of students’ word recognition and sequencing skills but this was due to my understanding of my students’ needs more than it was due to the features themselves. Technology can help us help students by allowing teachers to tailor instruction through the use of various software features. This helps to encourage student participation/motivation but the key here is that the technology should make it easier for the teacher to tailor the instruction because the software itself cannot effectively tailor anything because algorithms cannot get to know a student but can only memorize responses and plug them into another formula to pop out whatever was programmed into the function. A given X will always yield Y because Y depends on X but the fact is that learning is not so simple. Student understanding cannot be elucidated by a pre-programmed formula. An algorithm cannot customize learning, only a human teacher can do that.

What challenges does technology create for the student, the instructor, the institution?

Software cannot replace teachers, at least not for typical students (perhaps for the few self-motivated autodidacts who actually finish MOOC courses). Warner points out: ” Is repeating the same presentation over and over again to confused students a pedagogical practice we would accept in human instructors? …What is it we think students may ‘learn’ in theses systems?” (Warner, p. 92). While many technologies can be customized or attempt to customize instruction, individualizing instruction and reaching different types of learners is not something a computer program is capable of in my opinion. At best, an “adaptive learning algorithms” can reach a certain type of student, typically not students that would qualify as “outliers” on the normal curve that the algorithm is likely aimed to instruct at; regardless of how much data is collected and fed into a machine learning system, the outlier data points are unlikely to be used to connect with a lesson tailored to outlier students. For a student who has misunderstood, repeating the same lesson word for word until they get the right answer is not helpful in general. As any human teacher knows, when a student fails to understand the lesson, you do not feed the student the lesson in the same exact way on your next iteration. If we consider the student who is an English Language Learner, a simple phrase can throw off the understanding by so much and there is no way that the system can know that what the student misunderstood was based on English language fluency or vocabulary that may be unrelated to the specific lesson. Technology can be a very valuable tool but it is nothing more than a tool, it cannot sit in for a teacher. Treating “adaptive learning software” which aims to use algorithms to individualize instruction, as if it were equal to a teacher who is capable of learning about their students as individual humans, is highly problematic.

Optimizing learning sounds very appealing at first glance because often there is not always time to learn or teach all of the tech skills when one is following a strict curriculum. While technology is meant to optimize everything and may indeed make it more possible for teachers to individualize learning for a certain type of student, all of this takes time. It takes time to tailor assignments for different students, it takes time to teach students how to work with new technologies, and it takes teachers time to learn new technologies as well that a school might suddenly require teachers to use. Generally, true individualization of instruction is not reflected in the “adaptive software”. For instance, there is usually no room to digress in a productive way. Any digression is considered a mistake by an algorithm but teachers can use mistakes and digressions as teachable moments to promote depth of learning as noted in the “Two Roads Diverged in a Wood” article giving space for tangents in a lesson have learning value, “by allowing or even encouraging digression—by permitting students to take the “road not taken”—instructors facilitate a process whereby students may make new and original connections arising from their own thinking and discovery processes” (Ugoretz, p.2). These “teachable moments” are not recognize by algorithms and yet they have great value in student motivation as well as the ability to encourage students to make connections that lead to deeper understanding of content. The asynchronous discussion board can offer much more “personalization” than an “adaptive software” can because it is open and allows mental wandering that is often part of the learning process, especially when students encounter new topics.

What is reflected in adaptive learning software is the “oops you did it wrong again, a now try learning it again in exactly the same way”. This process is painful for students who need real instruction and have a low frustration threshold. For students who have disabilities or traumas, the algorithm can be downright abusive. I have been forced to use math software when I taught middle students students with learning disabilities that had this effect. After about 5 iterations of the “oops your wrong, watch this same video again and try again” the student would put their head down and cry or act out. What is eve more sad is that the student knew another way to get the math correct but the system would only accept its one defined way of demonstrating a skill based aligned with soon to be entirely phased out core standards (in my opinion it was a less useful way of doing fractions and division). What is worse is that this “math lab class” was meant for students with learning impairments and I was not supposed to teach it, I was supposed to just supervise the student interacting with the system (i.e., make sure they stay on the program that the school has spent its money on rather than going online to play video games, etc.).

Another issue with these formulaic attempts at instruction is that the systems can also be hacked. For instance, recently my step-son who is in HS Algebra shared with me that he had figured out a way to interact with one of the math softwares he has to use where he was able trick the system into believing he completed all of the assignments and therefore giving him all of the correct answers which he then used to get a perfect score. He then shared this trick with other students. The possibility to hack came from “repeated attempts” after “failing the first few times”. I am not sure how he did it but he exploited something in the part of the system that aims to “adapt instruction” by simply repeating the same exact lesson.

A district-mandated instructional software that is definitely not designed with your actual students’ in mind can be a major waste of money and class time and can even have detrimental effects on students’ motivation.

I think that schools will need to develop more diverse positions focused on instructional technology- having a computer teacher or an IT person is insufficient to keep up how quickly educational software is developing and how customizable some of it has to become. Generally, it is not teachers who decide what software a district should purchase. The people making those decisions are usually admins that are not currently teaching any classes (at least in k12). If core content teachers are allowed to take the lead in identifying resources and training each other, I think it would make for a better institutional outcomes. I emphasize core content teachers because they are the ones whose students will be tested most and whose data will be most utilized.

How do we understand the politics of educational technology that is both a field of inquiry and an industry?

The ever-intimate relationship between tech companies and political players increasingly leaves out the values of actual instruction.

The IT industry is focused on optimization and profit far more than effective instruction. The politicians are focused on having the numbers make them look good (i.e., consider how effective Bloomberg was at increasing passing rates by decreasing the minimum score to qualify as passing). There is a difference between learning and teaching that one cannot appreciate unless one has significant experience in both. It is very easy to feel that you understand “teaching” just because you are good at learning (particularly if you are a capable & self-motivated learner) but it is another story to actually teach others who are not so great at this and require significant guidance. Just because you are good at learning yourself it does not mean that you understand what schools or students need (hence the failure of initiatives by Bill Gates to fix education in NYC for instance ). One thing that seems to be overlooked where educational politics meets technological solutions to complex problems, despite it being obvious is that, as that “computers, no matter how powerful their algorithms, can only count” (Warner, p. 97). I think that this fact is often ignored perhaps because the idea of “optimization” is so alluring.

Generally, the politics associated with educational technology pulls us away from the depth of learning and teaching and toward the a sort of misguided efficiency or optimization relying on technological solutions which are not aligned with how students actually learn. I do not understand why wealthy IT moguls are treated as educational experts; they are not. They are simply people with money to spend who happen to be good at learning for their own purposes. Even if their intentions are pure, what qualifies Zuckerberg or Gates as education experts?

There are also costs to taking the time to teach technology skills not explicitly considered a part of the curriculum. Ensuring access to and accessibility of technology is also very challenging. I do not think that the technology companies appreciate that there are students that may struggle to use basic technologies (e.g., I once had to teach a “normal kid” who was HS senior how to use email in 2015!). Even when websites try to be accessible, they are not accessible to all people. Even the guidelines for accessibility themselves are not really accessible to everyone ( It’s hard (maybe impossible) to have a set of guides that work for all students because multiple things affect how we interact with technology based on who were are and how we perceive and interpret information.

How do we locate our own values within all of this? As teachers we value learning and as technofiles we appreciate what technology has the potential to do but we must ask ourselves “is it necessary” and “is it customizable for the teacher?” and just as importantly “is there time?” . I do not think that educator values are used as much as financial values when decisions are made about which software a school must use. Everyone wants the fastest way to show the best numbers even when the desired numbers may not be accurate representations of learning.

We want to use technology to make learning “bigger, faster, stronger” but the reality of the human mind is not this way. There are too many differences and learning itself is not linear. If the tech industry could appreciate the “non-linear” nature of the learning experience and be less motivated by profit and more motivated by making learning a positive experience for students (rather than using data aggregation to make correlations and treat them as causations), perhaps better software could come of it but optimization must be treated as less important than the experience of learning itself. I think that teachers value technology but understand its limits in instruction and it will take experienced teachers, not experienced IT moguls, to make software that reflects the values of learning and teaching.

Audrey Waters considers a Hippocratic Oath for ed tech ethics might ” insist that students be recognized as humans, not as data points. It would demand a respect for student privacy… recognize that ‘the tools’ are less important than compassion… It could call for more professional transparency perhaps …open disclosure about relationships with industry”. I love this idea but I do not think that it is considered much when technologies are developed. I hope that such an oath would be required of developers/ IT companies pushing their software onto schools and not just educators as teachers themselves have limited power when it comes to decisions that the district or institution makes about what tools must be used.