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Messianic Arrogance?

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To his credit, Scott McLeod wonders if he demonstrates “messianic arrogance” similar to Hare Krishna’s in his advocacy of educational technology.

Here’s the comment I left on his post:

Unfortunately, I think many edtech enthusiasts make the same mistakes that over-the-top (and unsuccessful) religious evangelists (and other “true believers”) do. Because of that, I suspect they might always be “right,” but just not very effective in their mission of changing how large numbers of people and institutions act.

During my nineteen years as a community organizer, I learned that the way to move people to action was first to learn their self-interests — their vision for themselves, their families and the world. I could only do that in the context of developing a reciprocal relationship, which could not be done unilaterally. I had to also exchange my story and be open to seeing other views and the possibilities of thinking differently myself.

Once I developed that relationship, and learned those self-interests, I was able to think through with them how my perspectives might help them realize their goals. It was not a quick process.

However, if you look at the experience of community organizing groups around the country and, in fact, the history of most successful social change (whether you agree with the change that occurred or not) this is the kind of strategy that was used. Variations of it are also used by the religious evangelists who are successful in attracting large numbers of people to their faith.

I’m impressed that you would raise this kind of question, Scott…

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

One Comment

  1. You nailed the problem!

    As soon as the ed tech evangelists start their utopian projections and hyper-bold predictions, I found myself dismissing their very valuable insights and technologies. Perhaps it’s my built-in scepticism, but it’s better to understate and suggest potentially profound and widespread changes than fall into “all will be transformed” mode.

    Somehow, I suspect this post will remain relevant in a decade too!

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