I find this paper by Selwyn very interesting: insightful, pragmatic and honest. I’m reading a lot about the subject of digital technology use by students and the youth and it’s useful that someone writes candidly without idealising the subject – as he shows is typical.
In many ways, he brings the aspirations of the advocates back down to earth and some of his arguments remind me of the fascinating Austrian Priest/philosopher Ivan Illich, who criticised schools for instutionalising the young into economic systems (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Illich#Deschooling_Society). Of course, Illich advocated – with caution – the use of technology to educate, yet we have yet to see (as Selwyn shows) that technology makes any meaningful or significant impact or effect on youth education.
I am curious in how the digital apparatus these essays describe empower the youth as well, and appreciate Selwyn’s honesty in claiming that they don’t necessarily do so. However, parts of the essay remind me of the Pirate Party in Germany – which seems to have gained popularity and credibility, despite operating with a slim mandate – namely, endorsing file-sharing and highlighting concerns about data-protection and censorship. That such a political platform could engage so many as to gain seats in Germany’s party proves that technology and its related issues are central to many voters’ perceptions of the future. Or does it prove that democracy is regarded as a bit of a joke? Either way, whoever you vote for the Government always gets in (as Dylan said)…and whatever starts out as subversive eventually gets recuperated within the system….just as Facebook founder/market strategist Zuckerberg asserted with his recent justification of floating Facebook on the stock market, wherein he called he and his cronies ‘hackers’ and described them in the rhetoric of revolutionaries. The clown. This is deconstructed quite irreverently in the column on this BBC link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16859526
Pirate party: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/18/pirate-party-germany-berlin-election
and a Facebook fan page about Ivan Illich, with the top post being an appeal to close itself down:
There doesn’t seem to be a fanpage about Neil Selwyn; consider this one.