Protecting Student Agency and Identity from "Template" Edtech Tools

RECLAIM THE IPAD DOMAIN: Such is the cry of high school teacher Mary Porter. In her reflection on Audrey Watters’ column, "Ed-Tech and the Templated Self: Thoughts from the “Reclaim Your Domain” Hackathon," Porter expresses concern that student agency and identity is being ruined by "templated" learning programs created by edtech entrepreneurs. Pearson gets frequent mentionings in her article, as Porter details her Title I public high school's struggles with pre-loaded Pearson’s Foundations of Flipped Learning rubrics and "flipped learning" software on 1500 student-issued iPads. She writes:

"There is no provision in Pearson’s promotional exercises for ongoing evaluation of how their revolutionary “technology”-driven approach is affecting students...Many students just massively defaulted on the flipped learning homework assignments, and also on the in-class tablet-mediated assignments. Literally every minute of their day, children were trapped in an academic version of the 'templated self.'"

Porter also calls attention to administrative choices, such as erasing child-created content without saving it in cloud storage, as symptomatic of the lack of focus on "terms of service for student consumers." "We also have to create a lifelong, working framework to safeguard their identity and their individual rights in the virtual universe," Porter writes.

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