The Invisible EdTech Discussion

What edtech academics talk about when we get together, and why those outside of edtech don’t know about or participate in our conversations.

April 12, 2017

Our educational technology community is engaged, energized, dynamic, and motivated. There is a sense of working at the start of something new.  It feels like early days.  

The challenge is that while our edtech community might share a common set of goals (around access, quality, and costs) - we don’t have an agreed upon set of practices.  

Nor do we share a common set of ideological or theoretical foundations, with the dividing lines largely around the question of if our system of higher education is an engine for economic opportunity, or a system to advantage the already privileged.  

The debates and the disagreements within our edtech community are vibrant, passionate, and rich - and also largely invisible to those outside of edtech.

Do our higher ed colleagues know about the major areas of focus and disagreement in which educational technology professionals are engaged?  

Would traditional academics be surprised by the extent to which higher ed technology people don’t talk about technology - but do talk about power, stratification, culture?

Those of us within the field of educational technology put the emphasis on education. We see ourselves as educators. Technology is a tool - not a goal.  

Those outside of the field of educational technology often see us first as technologists.  

Many of us working in edtech come to the field having first trained in a traditional academic discipline. Some of us are social and life scientists, others are trained as theorists within humanities, and we bring our critical lenses to our work in educational technology.

The discussions and debates within edtech have been slow to find purchase in the larger higher ed marketplace of ideas.  What is exciting and consequential within the edtech community is largely invisible to those in the larger academic world.

How can our edtech profession - our emerging interdisciplinary of learning, technology, and organizational change (if we are an emerging interdisciplinary practice) - invite our non edtech colleagues into our debates?

What can we do to interest our colleagues in the traditional academic disciplines in our emerging interdisciplinary field?

How do we make the big edtech debates more visible and inclusive to the larger world of academia?


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