Technology with Utility and Beauty

A recent silliness I have encountered is the insistence on SMART Boards as the tool with which education must happen. Obviously, my Heideggerian sympathies prevent me from accepting this. The problem with SMART Boards is not that they are some kind of technology. The problem is that we have no idea what kind of technology they make us. More and more we become ensnared by screens. If it is through these screens that the sum of education happens, then the only world in which humans will be educated is in that screen-world.

As far as usefulness goes, I’m sure SMART Boards are fine. There are two lingering problems. First, the use of SMART Boards chains teachers ever more tightly to what I shall call the Escalation of Methods. The Escalation of Methods states: Novelty and expense are necessary for children to learn. To begin to integrate SMART Boards into the classroom is to bind yourself to the ready-to-hand equipmental technologies associated that come along with it. The second problem arises in the form of The PowerPoint Delusion. This complex is the irrational belief that PowerPoint (or any comparable screen-based information) works. The use of SMART Boards may avoid this to some extent, but any information presentation technology that involves vanishing information is a part of The PowerPoint Delusion.

What of aesthetics? I won’t address this — I’m taking a class on Heidegger’s Origin of the Work of Art next fall. I will say that other technologies have a greater capacity for beauty than SMART Boards seem to offer:

    • DW
    • March 31st, 2010

    I was not taken seriously when I asked for my SMART board to be on my ceiling and 28 recliners as my seating option for the new facility…And I don’t know why.

    Methodist U in Texas went sans technology last year. No SMART boards, no Power-points, no silliness.

    The mandate was: TEACH the students something.

    Good mandate.

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