Technology Solutionism Isn’t The Solution

Something that caught my attention in this debate’s readings was the article by Audrey Watters and her reference to “technology solutionism”.

“According to Agarwal and others, MOOCs – and more broadly, education technology, online education, the World Wide Web, and the Internet – serve to magically erase systemic inequalities. This is what technology critic Evgeny Morozov has described as “techno-solutionism,” the simplification of complex societal problems into apps and algorithms. That is to say, we have exchanged political activism, collectivity, debate, democracy, social change for (education) technology consumption and usage. The world is broken – schools are broken – the techno-solutionists say, but the ubiquity of mobile computing devices will somehow save us.”

Evgeny Morozov describes this concept of technology solutionism as a shallow and simplistic to the problems of the world. He argues that it is not going to solve the complex problems of the world- including equity as discussed in this week’s debate. Yes technology is a tool, yes it has helped solve many problems, but no it is not the “be all end all” solution to the problems of the world. In reference to those who think technology is the solution, Morozov states:

“They want to be ‘open,’ they want to be ‘disruptive,’ they want to ‘innovate.’ “The open agenda is, in many ways, the opposite of equality and justice. They think anything that helps you to bypass institutions is, by default, empowering or liberating. You might not be able to pay for health care or your insurance, but if you have an app on your phone that alerts you to the fact that you need to exercise more, or you aren’t eating healthily enough, they think they are solving the problem”

There are many ways that assistive technology can help create equity in a classroom setting, and yes it gives opportunities to students in an inclusive classroom, but  it still creates a digital divide and does not solve the issue of equity in our society.

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2 thoughts on “Technology Solutionism Isn’t The Solution

  1. dalesh1 says:

    I agree 100%, Amy: technology is not the solution and has not solved equity problems and divisions in society. I think it has the potential to narrow these divisions, with the proper education about technology, but that this needs time and work. This change will take time, it’s not going to happen overnight, nor has it already happened.Great post!

    Like

    • Erin Benjamin says:

      Yes, I also agree! The inequities within society run so deep that technology is not the answer to solve all inequities. It can support several problems, but it’s not the saving grace, and often only increased the digital divide.

      Like

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