Let us hope that "ICT" is dead and buried

Fragment of a discussion from Talk:PeterT's bliki
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Crispin, thank you for your comprehensive response to my suggested definitions. To make it feel less daunting (and easier for folk to pick up particular aspects of the discussion) I am going to respond in separate messages to each of your key points.

Crispin said:

I agree with the importance of defining terms (I was arguing this back in January 2012), but not at all with the taxonomy that you propose. I also disagree with your last swipe at Gove, regarding unintended consequences. If you are talking about the clarification of definitions, this was very explicitly the point of the whole exercise that was started by “Shut down or restart?” — stuff about “damaged brand” is just PR speak for those who do not understand the details of the argument about definitions. If you are talking about adopting your definitions, I should wait a while before assuming that this is going to happen at all.

We are both starting with the same aim - to clarify the terminology used in our area. My PhD, which I started in 1990, is fundamentally underpinned by a desire to deal with the confusion about what we mean when we talk about 'educational technology'.

I agree that the Royal Society report attempted to help clarify the situation by providing definitions of key terms. However, I don't believe that Gove's motivation for changing the name of the subject in the National Curriculum is driven by that same ambition. The damaged brand argument is one that has been made by those who want the name of the subject changed from ICT (such as folk in BCS and CAS), many of who do understand the details of the argument about definitions (even if you and I might not agree with their views on them).

I agree that only time will tell which (if any) definitions relating to the key aspects of 'educational technology' (which I am taking to include everything from the technology itself through to the specialist subjects). However, part of my goal is to help ensure that some clear definitions are 'out there' and to promote their use, because (as I argue in my PhD and the dICTatEd Project) many of the problems in the field relate to lack of understanding about what we are talking about (people talking at cross purposes) because they don't define their terms clearly or use them consistently.

To be honest I am not that bothered about the particular labels that are used - so long as they are clearly defined and used consistently. So getting to agreement about terminology and definitions is the challenge ...

PeterT12:59, 5 May 2013

Hi Peter,

I have heard it credited to Kevin Riley of IMS GLC (though it may be wider practice) to say that you should first agree the definitions and then choose the terms. Instead of having a metaphysical discussion along the lines of "what does 'x' really mean", we should say "we want to discuss such-and-such, so what name shall we give it?"

So I agree with you that the terms matter only at the level of good marketing (itself not a trivial matter) - but the definitions are profoundly important in the distinctions and assumptions that they make. I think we are no more than a gnat's whisker apart on this.

On the comparative merits of "TEL" vs "education technology", I pick up on this discussion below, along with your PhD.


Crispin Weston07:45, 6 May 2013

I too think we are pretty much in agreement ... The best labels to use is the main challenge ... As does the substantive point re the extent to which digital technology has changed disciplines. All interesting stuff which it is good to unpack/probe.

I will respond in 'manageable' (from point of view of my available time) chunks over the next few days ...

PeterT05:33, 7 May 2013

Understood. We are a sad pair to write such a lot over a sunny bank holiday weekend - and probably the first sunny weekend of any kind in about 18 months.

Crispin Weston11:09, 7 May 2013