EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY AND VALUE NEUTRALITY

Dare Williams Omotoyinbo, Femi R. Omotoyinbo

Abstract


The purpose of this article is to show that the massive quest by governments and stakeholders to integrate technology into education, with little or no consideration for undesirable outcomes, is dangerous because technologies are not value-neutral. The aim of the article is also to encourage social-determinism, in that social and national values determine the choice of educational technology (edtech) to be adapted and integrated. The first section involves a conceptual clarification of edtech. We take the common desire for the use of edtech in developing societies as an indication that it is considered value-neutral. We also present “value-neutrality” as a development that stems from the philosophy of technology, and consider three senses in which technology could be deemed value-neutral. The second section is an analysis of the value-neutrality of edtech in light of these three senses of the term. We note faults with regard to the value-neutrality of edtech, and use the third section to assess the value-ladenness of technology by means of two senses in which it could be considered valueladen. We further explore a way to properly conceive the idea of the value-ladenness of edtech. The fourth section contains a positivistic explanation of the three ways in which edtech could be considered value-laden, and a brief suggestion on how best to react to this concept.
We identify that edtech is not value-neutral because it involves elements that are inclined towards moral evaluation. It is instead value-laden, not as a moral agent but as a moral entity with significant influences on human actions and values. Edtech could influence undesirable values in students, and may also change educational and national values.
This paper concerns social developments that are empirically verifiable, with findings and implications that are also pragmatic.

Keywords


educational technology; value-neutrality; philosophy of technology; national values; value-ladenness; philosophy of education

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13165/SMS-16-8-2-01

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236