The future of educational technology – is resistance futile? #AusELT chat with Scott Thornbury, part 4

Recently Lindsay Clandfield wrote about ‘Six Cool Tropes in ELT Edtech’. One trope he didn’t mention is that of inevitability, or, to paraphrase Neil Selwyn (2014″32), the notion that the transformation of education by technology is “an inevitable process that is beyond challenge or change.” This sense that resistance to ‘ELT edtech’ is futile was apparent in the #AusELT chat with @thornburyscott. For example:

Similarly, @johnpfordresher asked: “if tech pervades our world, and our Ss world, is it our responsibility to help them communicate in that world?” @eslkazzyb replied that “new written genres and modes of discourse have arisen due to tech” and so we should be using tech in teaching.

One simple factor that @sujava reminded us of are the apparent cost efficiencies which can be achieved through educational technology: she is learning Italian online because a face-to-face course would be too expensive. @thornburyscott replied that cost is indeed a a factor and that, in the end, the learner will decide, “But all things being equal many learners will still hanker for f2f communication where their own needs, interests are met.”

Despite this sense of inevitability about educational technology, @Elkysmith suggested that, in the ELT world, we are currently at an unsophisticated stage, characterised by “a lot of Ts tinkering away in their own classrooms while publishers push [the same old mediocre stuff via] LMSs.” @kathywa29798411 said “That’s what it feels like to me, keep waiting for it to calm down and reduce impossible choice of what to use.” @elkysmith also stated that there’s a tendency for people in ELT to just wait for a transformation to happen to them rather than taking a risk and doing something innovative.

With the sense that ‘resistance is futile’ comes a range of concerns about the impacts of educational technology. @gwendaatkinson raised the issue of work-life balance, suggesting that there could potentially be no boundaries between personal life and work life. @thornburyscott asked us to consider who pays for the hidden environmental costs resulting from the inevitable obsolescence and wastage of technology. On the other hand,

Finally, the chat turned to predicting the future of educational technology in ELT. @sturubinstein thought that, apart from a few language schools still handing out photocopied pages of English Grammar in use, in five years “BYOD (bring your own device) will be common.” 

@thornburyscott stirred us up with the well-known quote about teachers who teach like computers being replaced by computers’, which was followed by this:

And that seems a fitting place to wrap up this epic summary of the #AusELT chat with Scott Thornbury!

(this part of the summary by @elkysmith)


1 thought on “The future of educational technology – is resistance futile? #AusELT chat with Scott Thornbury, part 4

  1. Pingback: Update on the #AusELT chat with Scott Thornbury (6 Feb 2014) | #AusELT

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