Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Identity and the Mobile Learner

Greetings from mLearn 2016 at UTS in Sydney, where Professor John Traxler, University of Wolverhampton gave the last keynote on "The Role of Education in Identity Transformation and Acculturation". Professor Traxler challenged the assumption that m-learning (and education in general) was a culturally neutral boon for developing nations. Rather than telling us a canned answer, this was a presentation asking questions, which was refreshing.

Professor Traxler is concerned about a Western European view of education and technology being culturally imposed on others. However, this might also be a product of that culture.

Education and technologies such as mobile devices are not culturally neutral and I would find it surprising if anyone thought they did. These can be used by well meaning people to try to help others and have the intended and unintended consequences. The technology can also be used to impose a particular culture, to make money and to pursue political goals. It is easy to see something as exploitation, when what is is being pushed is an ideology you do not agree with. It is much harder to see when the ideology being inculcated via the education and technology is one you support.

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