Jesse Stommel is Executive Director of the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies at University of Mary Washington. He is also Co-founder of Digital Pedagogy Lab and Hybrid Pedagogy: a digital journal of learning, teaching, and technology. Jesse is a documentary filmmaker and teaches courses about digital pedagogy, film, and new media. Jesse experiments relentlessly with learning interfaces, both digital and analog, and works in his research and teaching to emphasize new forms of collaboration. He’s got a rascal pup, Emily, and two clever cats, Loki and Odin. He’s online at www.jessestommel.com and on Twitter @Jessifer.
Cogs and Pinions: Obedience and Critical Digital Pedagogy
Digital pedagogy is not equivalent to teachers using digital tools. Rather, digital pedagogy demands that we think critically about our tools, demands that we reflect actively upon our own practice. So, digital pedagogy means not just drinking the Kool-Aid, but putting the Kool-Aid under a microscope. In the 1915 book Schools of To-Morrow, John Dewey wrote: “Unless the mass of workers are to be blind cogs and pinions in the apparatus they employ, they must have some understanding of the physical and social facts behind and ahead of the material and appliances with which they are dealing.” The less we understand our tools, the more we are beholden to them. The more we imagine our tools as transparent or invisible, the less able we are to take ownership of them. Some tools are decidedly less innocuous than others. And some tools can never be hacked to good use. Remote proctoring tools can’t ensure that students will not cheat. The LMS can’t ensure that students will learn. Both will, however, ensure that students feel more thoroughly policed. Both will ensure that students (and teachers) are more compliant.
Presented with the generous support of a 2016-2017 Faculty Mentoring Grant, awarded by the University of North Texas Office of Faculty Success.
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