Although a firm believer in the potential value of technology in education I also believe in a strong streak of scepticism or at least of realism versus uncritical euphoria. When I did my distance MA I was happy to receive, by snail post, my reading and tasks at the beginning of each module and then completing the assignment in my own time. I found the module we did online, with information, tasks and “forced” collaboration all drip fed week by week to be stressful and not in tune with my own learning style. Digital immigrant talk? Maybe, but below is a quote from Jared Stein’s blog on “creepy treehouses” which I find relevant and interesting. What Web 2.0 and new technologies as a whole offer us is complex and simple assumptions that innovation is automatically good are lacking in dept and perspective.
“In the field of educational technology a creepy treehouse is an institutionally controlled technology/tool that emulates or mimics pre-existing technologies or tools that may already be in use by the learners, or by learners’ peer groups. Though such systems may be seen as innovative or problem-solving to the institution, they may repulse some users who see them as infringement on the sanctity of their peer groups, or as having the potential for institutional violations of their privacy, liberty, ownership, or creativity. Some users may simply object to the influence of the institution.
I’ve been observing this phenomena increasingly, as instructors push down hot Web 2.0 technologies, while students push back with vocal objections or passive resistance. I call this the creepy treehouse effect.”
The full text is here http://flexknowlogy.learningfield.org/2008/04/09/defining-creepy-tree-house/ and do follow the links for more exploration of the arguments.