On “The Rise of Educational Technology as a Sociocultural and Ideological Phenomenon”


Edtech is:

  • a response to increasing price of higher education: check ASU with edX collaboration, the Minerva Project or the Georgia tech (…) Over the past 30 years, the cost of attending college in the United States has risen by more than 225 percent, while the number of students attending degree-seeking college programs has more than doubled (…) The Thiel Fellowship offers youth $100,000 to pursue a pathway other than college
  • caused by a shift in political thought from government oversight to free-market oversight of education: Reducing governmental involvement and increasing emphasis on market forces in education has provided a space and an opportunity for the edtech industry to flourish (…) If we view higher education as an economic marketplace, the reduced state support could be seen as an attempt to address the negative effects of government intervention on that marketplace, enabling the private sector to respond to market imperfections.
  • symptomatic of the belief that education, like training, is a product to be packaged, automated, and delivered: Despite a lack of empirical proof of efficacy, the quest for technologies to deliver training and education at scale has continued through successive waves of technological innovations, including radio and television (…) Personalized learning software — which tailors instruction to individual learners’ needs, skills, and interests — is another example of efforts to automate and deliver education (…) ts very idea is predicated on defining discrete learning objectives; identifying content to address those objectives; packaging content into discrete chunks; delivering it to individual learners according to various behavioral, emotional, or cognitive measures; and automating the process so that it can be repeated for many different learners in many different contexts.
  • symptomatic of the technocentric belief that technology is a solution to the perils facing educationtechno-determinism, which holds that technology shapes its emerging society and techno-solutionism, which holds that technology will solve societal problems

According to the authors (Veletsianos & Moe): edtech is neutral, ahistorical, and apolitical. It assumes positive impacts and is positioned as the answer to the strains and consternations of administrators, faculty, students, teachers, and learning institutions.



Veletsianos, G., Moe, R., 2017, “The Rise of Educational Technology as a Sociocultural and Ideological Phenomenon“, EDUCAUSE Review

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