Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Blaming the Victim

Chris Lehmann is right on with this one: Blaming the Victim -- Creating Systems of Innovation.

His fellow Philadelphian Atrios put it more bluntly yesterday in The Lament of the Technocrat:

It goes something like this:

If only the bastards had done exactly what I told them to do!

Also, there is a pretty compelling case to be made for teachers having rational reasons to not embrace new technologies based on the unreliability of the systems we've got. Mark Cuban's post from two days ago provides just one of an infinite number of examples:

I sold and bought my first PC a long, long time ago. Back in the late 80s I owned a Mac, I think it was a Mac2. I honestly thought there would never come a time where I would buy a Mac. Ever.

Then I upgraded my PC to Vista. What a disaster. I had grown accustomed to my PC freezing every now and then. Enter Vista and my PC was frozen more often than it was working. The biggest culprit was MicroSoft Outlook.

The application has to have a memory leak. I could follow memory numbers as they grew and grew. Then as my email was downloading, the rules would stop working and everything went straight to my inbox. Spam and all.

When you get as many emails as I do. Thats a problem. When it also causes the system to freeze, its more than just a problem.

My first step was to get a copy of CPU Magazine with Vista tricks. The tricks helped. Everything froze or crashed less often. Significantly less often. But the annoyance factor was beyond belief. I dont run any special applications. I run outlook, Office and firefox. Thats it.

I had gotten to the point where I was embarrassed to be a PC owner. The thought of someone calling me and asking me to go to my computer to find something was paralyzing (ok, not that bad, but it sounded cool writing it).

This wasnt just a problem on my Desktop, it was a problem on my laptop with Vista as well.

So a few months ago I made the executive decision to buy a MacBook to replace my laptop.

If a tech billionaire can be ground to a halt by an operating system upgrade, to the extent that he decides it is easier to switch to a Mac, why should anyone approach new technology without a jaded eye?

Also, this paragraph from the above-mentioned Atrios post seems apropos to ed-tech bloggers' discussions of school reform:

This is, of course, the lament of the pundit also. The choice is never between your pony plan and something else, the choice is between competing packages which have some realistic chance of being enacted. There is value in discussion and think pieces, of course, and there is value in discussing what a pony plan might look like. But at key moments sophisticated people understand that their contribution to the political discourse is going to either be an endorsement of some policy or opposition to it.

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