Are you controlled by technology?

Yesterday I was drawn to the following statements from Toward Digital Equity: Bridging the Divide in Education.

  • Those who tell the computer what to do for exploring the world grasp the power of technology.
  • Those who are unable to claim computers as their own tool will never grasp the power of technology. They are controlled by technology.

These statements relate directly to facilitating online learning.  Looking at this weeks definitions of  a facilitator I see a couple of examples.

First definition of a facilitator 

“The facilitator’s job is to support everyone to do their best thinking and practice. To do this, the facilitator encourages full participation, promotes mutual understanding and cultivates shared responsibility. By supporting everyone to do their best thinking, a facilitator enables group members to search for inclusive solutions and build sustainable agreements” – Kaner[3]

I believe it is essential to be able to tell a computer what to do to encourage and  support learners to do their best thinking, search for inclusive solutions and build sustainable participation. The faculty member needs to understand what tools to use and how to use them in ways that will enhance the learning process described in the first sentence.

When faculty members are fearful of technology they become dis-empowered. How can faculty teach exploring the world with technology when we they are themselves dis-empowered ?

Second definition of a facilitator 

Some facilitators see their main role as moderating a discussion and keeping order.

Ok it is my opinion that many of  these facilitators are unable to claim computers as their own tool. They hide. They feel most comfortable in safe “walled off” areas where  they can hide their fear. They are afraid to take on learning  to use new tools for new ways of learning. Yet their students are actively involved in using these tools for social interaction. These faculty members are being left behind. As the Grateful Dead sing ” Trouble ahead
Trouble behind, and you know that notion just crossed my mind.”



3 thoughts on “Are you controlled by technology?

  1. Hi Greg,

    Your musing on the idea that “those who tell the computer what to do …grasp the power of technology”, got me thinking. Knowing about and being able to use a variety of tools in a way that fits with our pedagogy is something I’ve really appreciated about being involved with the POT!


  2. “Those who are unable to claim computers as their own tool will never grasp the power of technology. They are controlled by technology.” I’m not incredibly tech savvy, but I know my way around technology. I enjoy learning about a new technology, tool or program and then figuring out how I can use it to benefit my personal time, my instruction or my students’ learning. I like doing it myself. I usually don’t use set-up wizards. I turn off desktop assistants and other computer features that are meant to save me time and make me more productive. When a computer or program tells me what to do, my reaction is usually to get angry. I can’t stand Windows for this reason. When I use other people’s computers, I usually get frustrated because their computers try to do tasks for me or ask me if I really mean to do this instead of this. I guess for me, I’ve always felt that I want to control computers instead of allowing computers to control me.


  3. Yes, fear is a powerful dis-empowering force. It can lead to all sorts of unproductive reactions, like denial, anger or inaction. There are still many people who are somehow still afraid of technology (not just teachers). I think one contributor to this is the notion that you have to be “techie” to work with the computers and the internet. Another factor may be the belief that there’s too much you have to learn before you can get started, and who has time for all that.
    Pedagogy First is a great program for starting to break down some of that fear. It can help you see how you can take control of the technology.


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