The Problem with Education Technology (Hint: It's Not the Technology)
46 pages, 4 1/2 x 7
Release Date:01 Feb 2016
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The Problem with Education Technology (Hint: It's Not the Technology)

Utah State University Press

Education is in crisis—at least, so we hear. And at the center of this crisis is technology. New technologies like computer-based classroom instruction, online K–12 schools, MOOCs (massive open online courses), and automated essay scoring may be our last great hope—or the greatest threat we have ever faced.

In The Problem with Education Technology, Ben Fink and Robin Brown look behind the hype to explain the problems—and potential—of these technologies. Focusing on the case of automated essay scoring, they explain the technology, how it works, and what it does and doesn’t do. They explain its origins, its evolution (both in the classroom and in our culture), and the controversy that surrounds it. Most significantly, they expose the real problem—the complicity of teachers and curriculum-builders in creating an education system so mechanical that machines can in fact often replace humans—and how teachers, students, and other citizens can work together to solve it.

Offering a new perspective on the change that educators can hope, organize, and lobby for, The Problem with Education Technology challenges teachers and activists on “our side,” even as it provides new evidence to counter the profit-making, labor-saving logics that drive the current push for technology in the classroom.

'Fink and Brown’s thin volume is written so well that reading it a second time is as interesting and engaging as the first. . . . The text is accessible, friendly, and familiar—especially for writers or writing teachers.'
—Technical Communication

'Fink and Brown’s solutions are neither magical nor simplistic. They are surprising to many, I suspect. . . . In an environment where it is all too easy to close our office doors and hunker down for the day, Fink and Brown suggest something radical: talking with one another, working together, putting our considerable rhetorical skills to work collectively to not only save ourselves from our lesser selves, but to improve the writing environment for our students. I was reminded: oh, yeah—that’s why I teach writing.'
—Teaching English in the Two-Year College

‘Fink and Brown’s presentation is engaging. . . . The Problem with Educational Technology proves itself worthwhile by informing readers about an imminent threat to both teacher and student well-being and by helping ignite critical conversations about the role of united advocacy in finding an effective solution.’

—Journal of Writing Assessment

Ben Fink taught writing at the University of Minnesota and now directs theater, writing, and community engagement programs at Appel Farm Arts and Music Center in rural southern New Jersey. He is an active participant in the Imagining America network, a national organization of artists and humanists in public life.

Robin Brown is Morse-Alumni Distinguished Professor at the University of Minnesota. His career has focused on the multiple interrelationships of rhetoric, science, technology, politics, and identity and an ongoing theoretical and practical investigation into how humane academic cultures might be structured and managed.

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