26th ICDE World Conference news - Tech imperialism vs education idealism in California


The future of technology is being shaped in Silicon Valley and California’s global innovation hub will thus dictate the evolution of education technology.

The digital revolution and the ‘sharing economy’ mean education will become more accessible, but education technology writer Audrey Watters believes that does not necessarily bode well for the greater good that is the transfer of knowledge to the world’s most economically vulnerable people.

The profit-seeking, although seemingly altruistic, ventures of many Silicon Valley companies means that education in the future – if it were left to California’s technology leaders – could be perilously exclusive.

“California produces two-thirds of the United States’ produce and over a third of the nation’s farmworkers work in California, 95% of whom were born outside the United States,” Watters told the recent conference of the International Council for Open and Distance Education, or ICDE.

“The California ideology ignores race and labour and the water supply. It is sustained by air and fantasy. It is built upon white supremacy and imperialism. As is the technology sector, which has its own history, of course, in warfare and cryptography.”

This was the central theme of Watters’ keynote address at the 26th ICDE World Conference, held at Sun City, north of Johannesburg in South Africa, from 14-16 October and hosted by the University of South Africa under the theme “Growing Capacities for Sustainable Distance e-Learning Provision”.

Read the rest of the article on the conference website.