Pushing some more thoughts

I’ve been dipping in and out of the livestream and Twitter feed for the Pushing HE conference today, and there’s a few thoughts that I don’t want to lose – they’re very ill-informed and random. Apologies in advance.

Digital skills. The NGDLE talks about Universal Design – technology so easy to use that it’s intuitive. Tony Bates talked about the extent to which we can help colleagues to change and helping them solve problems. Investing in digital skills (training, working together – whatever this means to you) is the glue in here, because even the most intuitive tools on their own aren’t going to work. Whatever ‘Digital Skills’ means, it probably doesn’t mean building more IT. What looks cool to us (tools! pop-up! domains!) looks like work / administration to many of our academic colleagues. This is a problem.

Technology as tools. How do we push beyond a deterministic view of technology as a set of tools and get to the heart of how teacher agency can be inscribed into / onto technology. Values are key, as is ownership / control of the development of IT. This is the fundamental challenge and maybe why we keep going round and round in interative loops on the technology and why the metaphors don’t change? We keep talking about the “what” of the technology.

TEL wealth gap. I’ve thought about this a few times and failed to expand the metaphor. Sketching it out, it goes like this: There is a tipping point at which the wealth gap in society between the rich and the rest of us is so wide that it becomes pyschologically insurmountable. The Thatcherite thinking that allows the rich to get richer as an aspirational activity is the heart of this. To what extent do “innovation” and concepts like the NGDLE appear to many of our colleagues to be an insurmountable gap? Perhaps what is do-able in terms of ‘getting there’ is working on (a) ensuring that the gap between “innovators” and the rest of us doesn’t get too wide (b) keeping the whole train moving – the long tail doesn’t get longer. We should aim high for sure, but do we need some reasonable measure of progress to keep us sane?

Using compliance activities to have conversations about data. I’m already negotiating GDPR compliant contracts, trying out Privacy Impact Assessments, writing GDPR compliant Privacy Statements. I need to think more about how to turn this into something I can work with further.



(Notes on Dante's Inferno by Phoebe Anna Traquair. Photo by me and no rights reserved by me.)

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