Letters & Bytes

18 11 2009
Letters & Bytes

Letters & Bytes

I finally handed in my dissertation! The defence is scheduled for the 18th of december. I’m both happy and nervous. Happy about finishing it, and nervous about the finality of sending it to the printers. Now I just need to handle the defence…

Technology is everywhere in education: in the seating arrangements in the classroom, in the coordination of work, and in the delivery of lectures. In each and every educational meeting technology shapes interaction, pedagogy, and knowledge. However, technology is not a neutral tool that can be used in any way the teacher sees fit. Technology is permeated with hypotheses about its use, technological solutions, and social interests. Regarded in this manner technology becomes a complex and vital part of structuring educational practice.

Letters & Bytes uses distance education to explore technology as a powerful force that affects education. Through a number of cases the book investigates the history and a possible future of distance education. The historical case is correspondence education in the mid 20th century. The future illustration is Learning Objects, a developing standardized technology for reusing educational material. In exploring these cases the author emphasizes how technology not only shapes educational practice, but also how technology is steeped in economy, markets, education, knowledge, and other technological solutions.

In engaging educational technology, Letters & Bytes has both a theoretical and reflective motive. The point of departure being that techno-advocates often proclaim New Technology as a reformer that will reshape education. This rhetoric draws on two arguments. The first is that technology will reform education from the outside, and the second that technology can be used in any manner that the teacher sees fit. The involvement of technology in complex social and material processes makes these two positions untenable. This book seeks to sort out these fundamental misconceptions.

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