Many educators dismiss notions of technological determinism in favor of a “what matters is how we use technology” instrumentalism. While how we use technology matters, this view misses the subtle cues & biases inherent in technologies. That is, there are some ways in which technologies use us. Even if this notion is dismissed, I don’t think we can dismiss (at least not logically) technological momentum. Once a technology is in place, the specifications, limitations, & structure of that technology influences our work. For example, once a bell schedule is in place (or a grading system) momentum starts to build around the technologies that becomes ever more difficult to overcome. Therefore, we ought to be more careful about what technologies we allow to develop momentum. Imagine how much easier real education reform might be if the factory model were not allowed to develop such momentum. Perhaps, technological momentum is why we should be more wary of those who want to implement now & refine later.
Here is a screen shot from David Nye’s book, “technology matters”, from where I stole the phrase “technological momentum”.