Missing the boat on digital learning

As a follow up to my last post, I got this article “Research funds for technophiles” by Mark Bauerlein. He criticizes the tech fanatism (the author takes some stabs at some of my favorite people like Jenkjins and boyd) which fails to address the central question of how digital media is changing learning.

In part I agree with the author, the tech fanatism seems prevalent in many areas, not just learning. And we get distracted with all the cool things that we can do with new toys, to the point that we claim: Technology is changing everything!

Is it? and if it is… how? That’s the big question.

Regardless, I’m not sure traditional research can arrive at conclusive findings on these matters. It seems to me that a lot of people are writing anecdotally about digital media and trying to diagnose what is going on, but few actually come up with an answer as to the impact or the predictions. Well, isn’t it a bit early for that?

Therefore, I think we are just in an experimental phase and academia like many other organizations are just trying things out to see how it works, so in that sense I’m all for MacArthur and any other organization that funds concrete initiatives for digital learning or digital civic engagement or whatever other digital social thing we can come up with.