New Book Explores Technology in Education

john-dowd-web

Students in the digital age have encountered a variety of new technologies designed to make classes run more smoothly, and to make the overall learning process more entertaining and convenient. While the usefulness of each new gadget or app varies, the assumption that a more technologically enhanced educational experience is beneficial is rarely questioned. In his new book, Educational Ecologies: Toward a Symbolic-Material Understanding of Discourse, Technology, and Education, Dr. John Dowd begins by exploring this very assumption.

“Given digital technology’s expansion into environments where teaching and learning take place,” Dowd states, “it’s more vital than ever to reflect on the relationship between discourses and technologies, and the real ways that they impact the experiences of both professors and students.”

In his study of various forms of the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) educational movement, Dowd finds that despite the opportunities for positively transforming higher education, many versions of the DIY movement ultimately fall short when understood through the rhetorics of neutrality, determinism, and entrepreneurialism. Thus, rather than a wholesale rejection or celebration of educational technology, Dowd argues that it is increasingly vital that we reflect upon which technological adoptions make sense and which require adjustment or abandonment all together.