Friday, 22 July 2016

The co-dependent relationship of technology and communities

an article by Daniel W. Surry* and Fredrick W. Baker III (Auburn University, AL, USA) published in British Journal of Educational Technology Volume 47 Issue 1 (January 2016)


Technology is one the defining features of humanity. It is ubiquitous in modern society and plays an important role in nearly everything that humans do. New technologies frequently spur our imagination, can evoke powerful emotions and often serve as the topic of heated debate. Many people are in awe of the power and potential of new technologies while others fear its increasing importance in human life.

New technologies can create new employment opportunities, spawn new businesses and even revitalize entire economies. Conversely, they can cause unemployment, destroy long-standing organizations and lead to global economic upheaval. While technology undoubtedly impacts people and societies in profound ways, people and societies also impact the development and use of technologies. The intelligence, dedication and support of numerous people, businesses and social groups are needed to develop even relatively simple technologies. Once developed, new technologies rely on a myriad of economic, social, human and political forces for their continued use and expansion.

The field of learning technologies serves as an important and interesting case in which to explore the complex relationship between technology and society. In this paper, we will provide an overview of some of the most important philosophical and theoretical views of the relationship between technology and social systems, describe key issues related to the topic that are important for Learning Technologists to consider, and provide a series of recommendations for research and practice.

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