I was interviewed for a story in Built In about whether ed-tech "works" and whether it does more harm than good.

In your ideal classroom, what role would technology play—if any?

I think this is the wrong question. When we talk about technology, we often just focus on specific objects or products, but technology is much more complex than that. It involves practices and values and systems and ways of thinking. Technology is also a site of power and control. We need to talk about what it means to hand over the future of school instruction and school administration to industry.

When people talk about the role of technology in the classroom, promoters of edtech talk about a handful of mostly digital tools. They do not talk about the ways in which windows are a classroom technology, as are metal detectors at the school door or surveillance cameras in the hallways. We should ask more questions about what sorts of practices and what sorts of values lead to certain students having windows and others having no natural light in their school buildings; some students walking through metal detectors each morning and having their every movement tracked and monitored; certain students doing "drill and kill" on computers in large classrooms and other students having small classrooms, human teachers, and opportunities for inquiry—with or without computers.

Audrey Watters


Audrey Watters


Back to Archives