Tech Neutrality: Embedded Values: Chromebooks

12/4/19

What is tech neutrality? Is tech neutral. What does it mean for a value to be embedded within a technology? How does value-embedded technology effect our schools? These are questions that are intriguing for school leaders to consider. A good read on the topic of tech neutrality + embedded values is ‘The Uncertain Promise’ by Denis Goulet.

According to Goulet there are four tech-embedded values:

  • Rationality: Tech promotes the breaking down of problems into solvable parts.
  • Efficiency: Tech values outcomes more than process when measuring efficiency.  
  • Problem-Solving: Tech views problem solving as an external approach to get things done.
  • Promethean: Tech views nature as a conduit to attain goals.

Values may be embedded into tech communicated by the flowchart below (Van De Poel, Steinert):

An example of a technology that may have embedded value is the Chromebook which many students use in 1:1 school environments.

One Chromebook slogan that has been used in the past: 

“If you’ve changed the way you do pretty much anything, You Chromebook.”

The value implied by the above slogan is that change is good and that Chromebooks will help a person with change. 

John Cotter’s 8-Step Process for Leading Change is an excellent resource for leaders of change movements.

As we continue to move into a more and more tech-oriented future, it may be increasingly important for school leaders to become familiar with the embedded values of the tech they may or may not introduce into their educational ecosystems.

Works Cited:

Design For Changing Values: https://www.valuechange.eu/project/embedded-values/

8-Step Change Process: Kotterinc.com

Goulet, Denis. The Uncertain Promise

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