Monday, March 22, 2010

Drug and tech companies... too much influence?


flickr CC image via shipbrook

As drug companies influence medicine, is there a concern among educators that tech companies will become too influential in education?

In a market driven economy, I am of the opinion that sometimes wrong actions take place because they haven't been thoroughly and systematically reviewed beforehand. The Vioxx controversy comes to mind. The massive scale prescription of Vioxx proved to be damaging to our collective health to be sure.

The tech world operates in a market economy too. I wonder if we are occasionally sold a bill of goods in the "latest and greatest" tech tool that will advance our teaching practise and our student's abilities. As I write this, I'm actually wondering as far as software goes, why we're being sold anything tech oriented with all the open-source software out there for the taking. To further that idea in the context of education, can we be far away from open-source hardware? I see possibility in big hardware companies taking advantage of the availability of the recycled tech hardware that Moore's Law creates, refurbishing it, and giving it to educational institutions for free under the provision that a partnership is established to help develop software and uses for the hardware that the partner company has a vested interest in.

All I'm trying to say is, in our vigor to remain on top of Moore's Law in providing the most advanced tech integration possible in our schools, are we forgetting in our haste that just because something is "new," that it doesn't automatically mean it is pedagogically good for us or our students?

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