The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

A Disruptive Disease

Thorsten Lomker, Zayed University Dubai (United Arab Emirates)

Katharina Richter, Zayed University (United Arab Emirates)


A technological disease spreads around the world. It degrades and counteracts age-based primary education like almost no other technological development before. It disrupts family life and disparages parents that question it. And other than one might think, schools hail its arrival and stick to its implementation, regardless of their limited understanding of its short- and long-term impact. They even feel encouraged to let the spreader of this disease take over curricular development [1]. The disease is subtle. It uses strategic advantages, such as its potential hosts being entirely clueless about how the disease works. Its mere powerful presence is overwhelming, and not knowing about it is potentially harmful and embarrassing for the hosts to admit. Consequentially, they become proponents of the disease and aid in its implementation and spreading. This is indeed less because of them being convinced, but more because they can shift responsibility to the disease itself. They don´t even address the disease´s origin and the potential interests of the originator, but instead merely accept that they cannot avoid its spreading to happen. The disease disguises itself in beautifully designed outfits. Those that got infected feel chosen, they even decorate their possessions with stickers to show they got infected. The disease is not seen as a disruptive technology. It is far too pretty to be addressed as such. It is slim and shiny, and its metallic surface and elegant design mimic not only pecuniary but also educational value. The disease is the iPad, indeed. It flooded primary education, was welcomed by many, and swamped out established pedagogical approaches in no time. Curricular achievements that developed over decades were rendered obsolete without questioning. For certain, the device is not necessarily evil by nature. It is a technology that has the capacity to have a positive impact on education. What is evil is the lack of pedagogical critical analysis of its impact on primary education, kids´ health, family life, social interaction, and the general development of ICT skills. It is undoubted that its unstructured implementation, lack of well-adapted pedagogy, missing expertise, and absence of regulatory measures, caused a dire situation within many schools and families. The paper addresses these deficits and describes occurrences that are paradigmatic for how disruptive - in the truest sense of the word - technology can be for a kid´s well-being during its formative years.


Primary Education, iPad, Disruptive Technologies






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