Video: Building a Metaphorical Foundation (for Educational Technology)

Because technology is by its nature abstract, the way that we think about these abstractions has a direct impact on how it is created and implemented. I created this video to walk through how metaphors impact technology on the levels of students, teachers, and in the big picture. Hopefully, this will provide some food for thought for those creating and using technology, both inside and outside the classroom.

Putting together a short annotated bibliography on metaphors about technology and finding that the articles range from “the metaphors we use shape our conceptions of inventing and implementing technology” to “sometimes we think computers are like people and get irritated that they are so withholding” to “existing in the global cognisphere means that we have given up our agency as individual entities”. There seems to be some healthy disagreement on this topic.

The metaphors we use to talk about things are powerful. For example,¬†when talking about the internet lately the “flow of information” is seen as a given. It’s like drinking from a firehose. We’re engulfed. We’re drowning in it.

What if instead information online were a river, continuously available to carry us where we need to go, there to quench our thirst for knowledge, and distract us with cool waters for as long as we want to dip in our toes?

Don’t you feel calmer already?

For my educational tech class, we’re using Flipgrid, which is a system for shared student video responses in a class. For the first one, I felt the pressure to be simultaneously well-lit, friendly, thoughtful, erudite, and brief. I can see the value but also the challenges with the format.