Reading the Context of 2015’s Ed-Tech Trends
Audrey Watters is currently releasing a thrilling series on The Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2015 on the HACK EDU blog for anyone interested in a critical approach to education technology. Watters’ articles investigate the political, economic and ideological trends that shaped education technology in the last year. The articles tend to focus on the American context, but she makes more of an effort to include the rest of us than most coming out of the US. The fourth in the series, “Credits and Credentialing” was released Dec 9 with an unknown number of articles to come. There are lots of reasons to read all four articles, but I’d like to draw special attention to the third in the series: “The Employability Narrative” released on Dec 7.
Watters approaches the issue of education for employment from a number of angles and makes some important points: Using US labour department statistics she pokes serious holes in the argument that higher education is failing students by not providing them with practical job skills and is leaving them un-prepared for a precarious job market. Here’s a choice quote: “How does one defend against that precarity? It’s probably not just a “fix” for or by or through education – well unless you like invoking silver bullets as ed-tech entrepreneurs and politicians sure do. But surely it isn’t up to the institution of (higher) education alone to address employability and economic precarity.”
She goes on to critique the rhetoric that poses teaching everyone to code as a solution to the sexist and racist discrimination and bias in the tech sector. Citing statistics that show women leaving tech in droves and the arrest of 9th grader Ahmed Mohamed for bringing a homemade clock to school, she writes, “You sorta get the feeling that when people say “everybody should learn to code” in order to close that so-called “skills gap” that there’s an asterisk there: certain restrictions may apply.”
“The Employability Narrative” and all the articles so far in Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2015 are worth a read!