Somewhat off topic for educational technology, although if the context for teaching and learning is not right, then there is a lot of distraction from the core business. And we are experiencing a lot of distraction.
We have all heard of the high failure rates of ICT projects. But I am finding it challenging to pursue a sense of Zen when confronted with enormous ineptitude and the supposed acceptable adaptations to work processes. How many times in the past months haven’t I heard the remark “Oh but you can assign a couple of cheap staff members to tackle that problem can’t you?”. Implying that students could do some assembly line style work which will take hours, even days of their lives, whereas the system would have, had it functioned as it should have, accomplished the task in seconds. And the task did not exist before we adopted the system, which was supposed to make work more efficient…
But it is that remark which I trip over. It reminds me of the importance of guarding the line. We need people who say, this is where I draw the line. We need them in society to keep the way we organize ourselves humane, and we need them to mobilize against unacceptable developments, like the Occupy movement, which by the way, why did it take so long in the making? And we need them within organisations when monolithic IT systems are rolled out over hundreds of people in such a way that the system fits everyone, and at the same time no one, and the solution offered is to put a couple of cheap labor staff members on the task.
This is not a call to arms. I understand teething pains at the launch of such a system. And yes, the use of the term “slave labor” is an exaggeration. But please let us keep notice of the sliding slope and guard the line between acceptable workarounds, and unacceptable ones.