The colonizing impulse and ICT

Concerning Educational Technology FAQ's

This question was triggered for me by a Department meeting we had a year or two back in which the proponents of ICT were enthusiastically, even evangelistically, expounding their cause. The claimed that 1. Teaching by ICT was no different from what lecturers normally did, and 2.

ICT would bring education to people in distant bays and islands who normally had no access to tertiary education. I could not help but notice both the contradiction in these claims, and also, the analogy with nineteenth-century imperialism – the absolute conviction in the rightness of spreading the Word, together with the confidence that the barbarians/ heathens of the bays and islands needed the Word.


Rangi Walker prefers, to the terms imperialism or colonialism a concept of the expanding grip of metropolitanism, and it seems that this is exactly what we are talking about here.

Yet, even as I voiced resistance to this evangelism I was struck by a contrary objection to my position: to deny education via ICT to the inhabitants of the East Coast or the Pacific Islands is to indulge in some kind of romantic fascism: they have as much right to refashion themselves in the model of consumer or educated man as much as anyone else.

To force upon them a kind of Historical Edifice categorisation is to deprive these peoples of agency. So, driven by these contradictions I reread Heidegger’s The Question Concerning Technology. This is the primary work of philosophy on technology.