Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tools of Empowerment, Enlightenment, and Excitement

In the latest post in his wonderful blog More or Less Bunk, Jonathan Rees quotes from the book Clio Wired edited by Roy Rosenzweig:
“Although a Luddite resistance to technological change may seem appealing at times, we would argue instead that it is worth engaging with these new technologies in an effort to try to insure that they indeed become badly needed tools of empowerment, enlightenment and excitement.” - Roy Rosenzweig & Steve Brier, 1994
This summarizes an argument that I've been trying to make in recent years in presentations and discussions with faculty and others. Change is here - technological, demographic, political, and economic. If the educators that care about students don't find a way to respond, the future of education will belong to those who stand to profit economically or politically or both. Who will build the universities and colleges of the future - those who understand the history and share the values of the educational enterprise, or those who simply want to make a buck?

The Great MOOC Scare of 2012 has resided and the rise of well-funded ed tech startups with (largely) goofy or ill-considered products may be near the bubble peak - at least, we can hope. But the fundamental forces that act upon our institutions are not going to disappear. I salute Jonathan and others who have the courage to explore new ways of reaching their students and learning to navigate of the technology sea we find ourselves sailing on. These are the innovations that can set the course for the future while valuing the past and keeping the focus where it belongs, on our students and our communities. They are building tools of empowerment, enlightenment, and excitement.

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