Week 2: Looking to the future

Image by krupp. Creative Commons license CC:BY
This week, we move to more future-focused visions of technology and education, and explore how utopian and dystopian stories (or ‘discourses’) are shaping our understanding of what is happening now in the sphere of learning technology, and what might happen in the future. 

This week there are three sets of resources for you to engage with: 

    1. Popular cultures: short films which take utopian and dystopian looks into the future of technology.
    2. Ideas and interpretations: two core readings - one about the significance of metaphor in thinking about the internet; and the other a video about science fiction representations of the future of social media. There is also an advanced reading - 'a manifesto for networked objects' - for those who want to go further in thinking about possible technology futures.
    3. Perspectives on education: two academic articles addressing aspects of the MOOC phenomenon and speculating about its future.

Our films this week offer a series of evocative and sometimes disturbing visions of what the future of information technology might hold. ‘Always on’, ubiquitous communication, embedded directly into our bodies or carried with us at all times, is presented in some films as a profound threat, in others as a thrilling opportunity. Above all, the question seems to be: who is set to benefit from the personal, constant attentions of information technology, and who might lose out? The ‘ideas and interpretations’ resources this week introduce the notion of the metaphor as another lens (like determinism) through which to look at utopian and dystopian stories about e- learning and digital cultures. Wherever you see or read a metaphor this week, try to think of an alternative that might have been used – what difference do you think it would make? And finally, we will explore some writing on MOOCs, looking to see how promises and threats about the future of education are currently playing out in academic literature, and in popular educational technology and media contexts.
Last modified: Saturday, 27 June 2015, 12:13 PM