Monday, April 04, 2011

The WOW Factor


I was recently asked for my thoughts on the WOW factor in the field of educational technology and thought I'd record them here....

......my personal relationship with the WOW factor stems from a time several years ago when I came to believe that the WOW factor was very much underrated when attempting to engage people in educational technology. I was always hearing ' you can't let the technology' lead, and yet all my most exciting moments, and those I observed in others, where when that it is exactly what we did - we followed the technology FOR ITS OWN SAKE and discovered wonderful things! New avenues and new approaches to teaching would appear before us. The politically correct mantra of 'the pedagogy must determine what tools you use' does not take into account the magic of technology. Arthur Clarke once said, "Good technology is indistinguishable from magic, " and that's why its pull can be so powerful. Its WOW factor a source of wonder, joy and insight.

So for some years I have been urging people to ditch the politically correct mantra and let the technology, and its WOW factor lead. I have since learnt that my position can be described as technological determinism, and I have been enjoying descriptions of this and other philosophical positions on the role of technology in Personal Connections in the Digital Age by Nancy Baym. I am not sure of his exact position on this, but Philip Towndrow, an educational researcher in Singapore and a recent speaker at the Webheads Sunday sessions proclaimed "technology IS the context" within which educators in the developed world now work.

Now, for a more comprehensive treatment of related ideas go see Vance Steven's blog post from March 10th.

1 comment:

John Nebauer said...

I would think that one of the points of education is to enthuse people so that they want to learn. The technological context provides the framework. In a high-tech environment, where the learners use it in their daily lives, the tech has to be at the forefront.