Course Calendar

January 28 — Definitions

What do we mean by “critical”? What are educational technologies? How are these frameworks present, constructed, and contested within our own disciplinary and professional domains? How will this course be useful to us in solidifying a critical stance vis a vis ed tech? 

February 4 — Contexts

Where and how are educational technologies developed, deployed, supported, procured, and contested? How are these contexts different from one another? How are they alike?

Watters, Audrey. “The History of Teaching Machines.”

Watters, Audrey. “The 100 Worst Ed-Tech Debacles of the Decade.” Hack Education, December 31, 2019.

Weller, Martin. “Twenty Years of Edtech.” EDUCAUSE Review 53, no. 4 (August 2018).

“Knewton Is Gone. The Larger Threat Remains | Inside Higher Ed.”

Cottom, Tressie McMillan. 2019. “Rethinking the Context of Edtech.” EDUCAUSE Review 54 (3).

Fletcher, Curtis, “Educational Technology and the Humanities: A History of Control,” in Gold, Matthew K., and Lauren F. Klein, eds. Debates in the Digital Humanities 2019. Univ Of Minnesota Press, 2019.

Downes, Stephen. n.d. “E-Learning 2.0.” Elearn Magazine 2005 (10).

Skim Christensen, Clayton M., and Henry J. Eyring. The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011. (PDF on course group).

February 11 — Theory

What theoretical frameworks can facilitate a critical approach to educational technology? In what specific ways are they useful? 

Watters, Audrey. 2015. “A Hippocratic Oath for Ed-Tech.” Hack Education. January 21, 2015.

Kerr, Stephen T. n.d. “Nine Paradoxes of Educational Technology.”

Duncan-Andrade, Jeffrey M. and Ernest Morrell. “Contemporary Developers of Critical Pedagogy.” Counterpoints 285 (2008): 23-48. (PDF on course group).

Siemens, George. n.d. “Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age.” (Alternative link Also available available as a PDF on course group.

Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Translated by Myra Bergman Ramos. Any edition. (PDF on course group).

hooks, bell. 1994. “Introduction,” “Chapter One: Engaged Pedagogy,” and “Chapter Twelve: Confronting Class in the Classroom” in Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. New York: Routledge. (PDF on course group).

Benjamin, Ruha. “Chapter Two: Default Discrimination: Is the Glitch Systemic?” in Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code. 1 edition. Medford, MA: Polity, 2019. (PDF on course group).

February 18 — Rhetoric

What rhetorical strategies are present within the realm of educational technology, and how are we to understand them? How is this rhetoric distilled at the level of the institution? What rhetorical skills must an educational technologist have to be successful in their work?

Groom, Jim. 2008. “The Glass Bees.” Bavatuesdays (blog). May 26, 2008.

Stommel, Jesse. “If bell kooks Made an LMS: Grades, Radical Openness, and Domain of One’s Own.” 2017. June 5, 2017.

“University of Phoenix Agrees to Settle False-Advertising Claims.” 2019. Los Angeles Times. December 10, 2019.

“Meet The Mind-Reading Robo Tutor In The Sky.” October 13, 2015 NPR.Org.

Warner, John. “The Problem of Technology Hype.” In Why They Can’t Write: Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and Other Necessities. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018. (PDF on course group).

“Bakpax – AI That Reads Handwriting and Grades Assignments for You.” n.d. Bakpax.

“Promote Academic Integrity | Improve Student Outcomes.”

Project Proposal Due (Context)

February 25 — Pedagogy

How is pedagogy implicated in educational technology discussions and processes? How are pedagogical assumptions embedded in educational technologies, and how do they impact teaching and learning?

Bass, Randall. 1997. “Engines of Inquiry: Teaching, Technology, and Learner-Centered Approaches to Culture and History.” Engines of Inquiry: A Practical Guide for Using Technology in Teaching American Culture. Washington, D.C.: American Studies Crossroads Project, American Studies Association. (PDF on course group).

Harbison, Thomas, and Luke Waltzer. 2013. “Toward Teaching the Introductory History Course, Digitally.” In Writing History In the Digital Age, edited by Jack Dougherty and Kristen Nawrotski. University of Michigan Press.[chp07]!/4/2/4[p97]/1:0.

“Introduction,” “Chapter 3: Thin Slices of Learning,” “Chapter 5: Multimodal Assignments,” “Chapter 6: Learning Communities,” and “Chapter 7: Authentic Audiences,” in Bruff, Derek. 2019. Intentional Tech: Principles to Guide the Use of Educational Technology in College Teaching. 1st edition. Morgantown: West Virginia University Press. (PDF on course group).

Morris, Sean Michael and Jesse Stommel. 2017. “A Guide for Resisting Edtech: The Case against Turnitin.” Hybrid Pedagogy. June 15, 2017.

Conference on College Composition and Communication. “Intellectual Property-Related Motion at the CCCC Business Meeting,” June 6, 2018.

Gold, Matthew K. “Against Learning Management Systems | The Lapland Chronicles,” March 30, 2009.

Gorges, Boone. “Parsing the Box | Teleogistic,” March 30, 2009.

Homer, Bruce D., Jan L. Plass, Maya C. Rose, Andrew P. MacNamara, Shashank Pawar, and Teresa M. Ober. “Activating Adolescents’ ‘Hot’ Executive Functions in a Digital Game to Train Cognitive Skills: The Effects of Age and Prior Abilities.” Cognitive Development 49 (January 1, 2019): 20–32.

March 3 — Data and Surveillance 

How are data produced, consumed, and deployed via educational technologies? What does it mean to have a critical stance towards data in the realms that we’ve identified?

Gilliard, Chris. 2018. “How Ed Tech Is Exploiting Students.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 8, 2018. (PDF on course group.)

Gilliard, Chris. “Digital Redlining, Access, and Privacy.” 2016. Common Sense Education. May 24, 2016.

Jones, Kyle M L, Michael R Perry, Abigail Goben, Andrew Asher, Kristin A Briney, M Brooke Robertshaw, and Dorothea Salo. 2019. “Student Perspectives on Privacy and Library Participation in Learning Analytics Initiatives,” 13. (PDF on course group.)

“Colleges Are Turning Students’ Phones into Surveillance Machines, Tracking the Locations of Hundreds of Thousands.” Washington Post.

“At Educause, a Push to Monitor Student Data Is Met with Concerns About Privacy and Equity – EdSurge News.” 2019. EdSurge. October 17, 2019.

“40 Organizations Release Privacy Principles for Student Safety – Ferpa|Sherpa.”

Caines, Autumn, and Erin Glass. “Education before Regulation: Empowering Students to Question Their Data Privacy.” EDUCAUSE Review 54, no. 4 (Fall 2019).

Jones, Kyle, John Thomson, and Kim Arnold. “Questions of Data Ownership on Campus.” EDUCAUSE Review, August 25, 2014.

Warner, John. “Resisting Big Data and Adaptive Software | Inside Higher Ed.”

“Student Privacy.” Electronic Frontier Foundation.

“Should Colleges Really Be Putting Smart Speakers in Dorms? – MIT Technology Review.”

MuckRock. “Majority of VCU Students Refuse to Participate in Wi-Fi Tracking Program.”

March 10 — Systems 

What are the systems that produce educational technologies and impact their adoption?

Hill, Phil. 2019. “Why Instructure’s News Matters: Market History.” PhilOnEdTech. November 19, 2019.

EdSurge. “New Ownership for an LMS Giant: Private Equity Firm to Buy Instructure for $2 Billion – EdSurge News,” December 4, 2019.

“Instructure’s Proposed Acquisition Is a Bad Risk for Everyone.” 2020. E-Literate. January 5, 2020.

EdSurge. “As Instructure Changes Ownership, Academics Worry Whether Student Data Will Be Protected – EdSurge News,” January 17, 2020.

Broussard, Meredith. 2018. “Chapter Five: Why Poor Schools Can’t Win at Standardized Tests.” Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press. (PDF on course group).

Oxman, Steven, and William Wong. 2014. “WHITE PAPER: ADAPTIVE LEARNING SYSTEMS,” 30.

Kolb, Liz. 2008. “Toys to Tools: Connecting Student Cell Phones to Education.” In Toys to Tools: Connecting Student Cell Phones to Education. International Society for Technology in Education.

Selections from Noble, Safiya. Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism. 1 edition. New York: NYU Press, 2018. (PDF on course group).

March 24 — Economics

What are the economic implications of ed tech? What contexts are driving supply and demand?

Fabricant, Michael, and Stephen Brier. 2016. “Chapter Four: The Making of the Neoliberal Public University.”  Austerity Blues: Fighting for the Soul of Public Higher Education. JHU Press. (PDF on course group).

Williamson, Ben. 2018. “Silicon Startup Schools: Technocracy, Algorithmic Imaginaries and Venture Philanthropy in Corporate Education Reform.” Critical Studies in Education 59 (2): 218–36.

Hill, Phil. 2020. “Purdue University’s System-Wide OPM Contract With Kaplan Higher Ed.” PhilOnEdTech. January 14, 2020.

Morrison, Jennifer R, Steven M Ross, and Roisin P Corcoran. “Fostering Market Efficiency in K-12 Ed-Tech Procurement.” Center for Research and Reform in Education (CRRE) Johns Hopkins University, September 22, 2014.

“Education Technology Use in Schools: Student and Educator Perspectives.” Gallup.

“The Remarkable Turnaround in Instructure’s Position on Future Growth – PhilOnEdTech.” 2020. January 22, 2020.

Environmental scan/annotated bibliography due

March 31 — Tools and Platforms

What are the specific technologies that are being deployed in K-12 and university contexts, and how do we evaluate using the foundational concepts established in the course? What’s coming?

Personalized Learning Consortium, Association of Public and Land Grant Instituteions.

Watters, Audrey. 2014. “What Should School Leaders Know About Adaptive Learning?” Hack Education. September 9, 2014. (And read Linked reports)

Zheng, Binbin, Mark Warschauer, Chin-Hsi Lin, and Chi Chang. 2016. “Learning in One-to-One Laptop Environments: A Meta-Analysis and Research Synthesis.” Review of Educational Research 86 (4): 1052–84.

Katz, Lauren. 2019. “Algorithms Are Grading Student Essays across the Country. Can This Really Teach Kids How to Write Better?” Vox. October 20, 2019.

Haskins, Caroline. 2019. “How Gaggle Surveils Every Document, Email, Chat, And Picture That Students Create.” Buzzfeed News, November 1, 2019.

McKensie, Lindsay. “Pearson Goes All in on Digital-First Strategy for Textbooks | Inside Higher Ed.” Accessed July 16, 2019.

April 7 — No Class, This Tuesday is a Wednesday

April 14 — No Class, Spring Break

April 21 — Spaces and Skills

What skills must a critical educational technologist possess to be effective in their work?

Reid, Pat. “EdTechs and Instructional Designers—What’s the Difference?” Inside Higher Ed (blog), July 16, 2019.

In what institutional spaces are educational technology decisions made, and what are the vectors for critical ed tech to have impact?

Groom, Jim, and Brian Lamb. 2014. “Reclaiming Innovation.” Educause Review Online 49 (3).

Gold, Matthew, and George Otte. “The CUNY Academic Commons: Fostering Faculty Use of the Social Web.” Publications and Research, January 1, 2011.

Fabricant, Michael, and Stephen Brier. 2016. “Chapter Six: Technology as a ‘Magic Bullet’ in an Era of Austerity.”  Austerity Blues: Fighting for the Soul of Public Higher Education. JHU Press. (PDF on course group).

Education for Liberation Network. From Rethinking Schools: Planning to Change the World 2019-2020

Statement of intervention Due

April 28 — Interventions (featuring special guest)

What does it mean to critically intervene in educational technology? 

Bowles, Nellie. 2019. “Silicon Valley Came to Kansas Schools. That Started a Rebellion.” The New York Times, April 22, 2019, sec. Technology.

“Ethical EdTech.”

Regalado, Mariana, and Maura Smale. 2019. “‘Technology Is Great, but It’s Really Time-Consuming:’ Understanding Students’ Digital Academic Lives.” Publications and Research, December.

“Domain of One’s Own – Reclaim Hosting.”
UMW Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies. “A Brief History of Domain of One’s Own, Part 1,” September 21, 2016.

UMW Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies. “A Brief History of Domain of One’s Own, Part 2: The 12 Days of Domains,” December 6, 2016.

Watters, Audrey. “Why ‘A Domain of One’s Own’ Matters (For the Future of Knowledge).” Hack Education (blog), April 4, 2017.

May 5 —Presentations

May 12 — Presentations


Big thanks to Lance Eaton for sharing his Critical EdTech Syllabus. Thanks also to colleagues and friends Lisa Rhody, Laurie Hurson, Matt Gold, Maura Smale, Thomas Nikundiwe, and Carla Shalaby for discussions and suggestions as this course was being developed.