Etec540: Text Technologies: The Changing Spaces of Reading and Writing

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In an enlightening and intriguing journey from orality to depictions of the futures of text technologies, Etec540 allowed me to better view technologies beyond being inventions in and of themselves, beyond their machinability, operationalities, affordances, and limitations. I started realizing they are shapers of human thinking, identities, literacies, education, and cultures. Their past and present are intricately woven into our being and will indeed impact our future. Furthermore, my final task, “speculative futures,” has given me the opportunity to: 

some learning outcomes from etec540
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Conceptual Design

At the intersections of education and human, social ills have become hardwired into various computational systems and innovations (O’Brien, 2020). To address this challenge, there has been a growing call for a type of computer practice known as critical computing, urging technologists in thinking about topics beyond computational and cognitive issues, such as power dynamics, political arrangements, and the social, cultural, and educational implications of disruptive technology solutions (Harrell, 2010). In concert with this notion, Swelyn, Pangrazio, Nemorin and  Perrotta (2020) suggested that the writing of speculative fictions may promote critical technology fields. Such practice may open up thinking about the present implications of technology innovation on society and support developing alternate visions for more equitable futures. 

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Speculative Futures : Goal [4] Hover here Goal [4] To further develop a holistic view about technology.

In the following narratives, I attempted to address the speculative question of ‘What might the school of 2051 be like?,  with a specific focus on the sociological impacts of digital technologies rather than the types of technologies themselves. The following audio provides brief highlights about the narratives.



Composing the future scenarios was quite challenging for me; partially, there is an awful lot of denial that the loss of humanity is not a farfetched outcome and singularity is close. Moreover, I lack the creativity that goes into thinking about the future and indeed the skills to generate brilliant language and compelling plotlines. Despite these challenges, it was useful to exercise sociological imagination in possible tech dystopias such as brain implants, unsupervised AI solutions, dataveillance, and algorithms to control students. It was just as important to envision and articulate some positive outcomes may look like in my second narrative.
My big learning moments in Etec540

Meanwhile, I believe it is crucial for technologists to recognize the strong voices for critical awareness, urging us to take a more holistic approach and understand the ramifications of technology on the people who use it (Harrell, 2010). According to O’Brien (2020), if we do not realize these implications at this early stage of establishing new digital ecosystems, the effects will be substantial and difficult to reverse. You may begin by using the same practice, imagining limitless future situations (fiction writing) that uncover the non-technical elements of digital solutions. And perhaps the stories you create will provoke a critical observation on how ALL threads twist and interweave, despite the fact that code structures and design models seek to deny these relationships. As Graham et al. (2019) point out:

Speculative fiction offer new spaces to reconsider assumptions, rationales and viewpoints (p.10)

It is my hope for a future where technology can be part of the solution to society’s problems and not the problem. Limiting our vision to specific sce­nar­ios is never a good idea; we don’t know what designs will be ideal in the future. Either we start with ourselves and pay attention to ALL imperatives and cre­ate design paths through the ​variant space of pos­si­bil­i­ties or we will ultimately contribute to further social destruction. I remain an optimist.