Post-Covid-19 Education and Education Technology ‘Solutionism’: a Seller’s Market

Abstract (in English): 

The Covid-19 pandemic and the social distancing that followed have affected all walks of society, also education. In order to keep education running, educational institutions have had to quickly adapt to the situation. This has resulted in an unprecedented push to online learning. Many, including commercial digital learning platform providers, have rushed to provide their support and ‘solutions’, sometimes for free. The Covid-19 pandemic has therefore also created a sellers’ market in ed-tech. This paper employs a critical lens to reflect on the possible problems arising from hasty adoption of commercial digital learning solutions whose design might not always be driven by best pedagogical practices but their business model that leverages user data for profit-making. Moreover, already before Covid-19, there has been increasing critique of how ed-tech is redefining and reducing concepts of teaching and learning. The paper also challenges the narrative that claims, ‘education is broken, and it should and can be fixed with technology’. Such technologization, often seen as neutral, is closely related to educationalization, i.e. imposing growing societal problems for education to resolve. Therefore, this is a critical moment to reflect how the current choices educational institutions are making might affect with Covid-19 education and online learning: Will they reinforce capitalist instrumental view of education or promote holistic human growth? This paper urges educational leaders to think carefully about the decisions they are currently making and if they indeed pave the way to a desirable future of education.

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Daniel Johannes...