Discussion Wrap-Up:

Many of Haraway's thoughts and philosophies are quite complex and discussion-rich. The discussions that happened within the Vista framework spawned some very interesting threads and debates. The Discussion Wrap-Up aims to bring many of the ideas within the themes into one cohesive entity.

Theme 1: The Feminist Movement

The subject of the feminist movement is a very emotional one that stirs up many different issues within itself. Technology has the reputation of being masculine, a patriarchal entity that has be birthed from the overtly male-driven and male-oriented military. With the changing time, however, this same technology has allowed the equality of women, the feminine movement to grow, to propagate. There is still arguably much to be done and a long way to go, but technology has become a vehicle for this movement, to diffuse injustices and emphasizing inequalities.

Invariably, this conversation comes back around to the issue of women’s’ right, or at the very base of it all, equal human rights. Democracy and progression in many countries around the world negatively emphasize the issue of the feminist movement. “A democratic society can only come about if all individuals have access to fundamental human rights (that includes equality of the sexes).” Marie-France Hetu

There is also a socio-gendered aspect (and some say physiological one) that is also brought up. Men, historically, have been the tool bearers, the users and manipulators. They have been the tinkerers. Given the same tools, women use them differently. This may be one of the reasons why this technological world is still male-oriented. However, you can never know the gender of the person sitting in from of the computer screen. These days, the playing field should be equal as the World Wide Web isn’t gender-biased.

Theme 2: Technology, Education & Politics

Wow, it amazes how heated a discussion can be when most of the people taking part are on the same side. Popular agreement is that technology, education and politics make for three very strange bedfellows. We want to separate the ideas of education and politics, but as Alan Pronger states, “Just as politics are extended into educational policies and practices, politics also extend into Educational Technology (ET). Likewise, education is influenced by the politics of technology. These politics may not embody themselves in political parties or values, as people conventionally think of when they hear the term, “politics.” And yet, there remain popular philosophies such as a Waldorf educational philosophy, which places little to no technological emphasis on technology gadgets.

There still remains at the core, an ideological standpoint that technology is a tool which has political values implanted into it be those who are invested in it and interact with it. That being said, within this technological society, it is inconceivable that technology and education remain autonomous. What changes in the equation is the political agenda associated with the two issues. There remains the belief that technology should always help students engage, but should never be the reason d’être.

Theme 3: The Political Myth

Once again, we turn to Alan Pronger’s rather astute insight. “Although Haraway's article is written as a metaphor against the notion that women can be lumped together into one singular category, the cyborg figure has important conceptual implications for education. The idea of cyborg culture is present in today's internet culture where anonymous people can assemble en masse to exchange ideas and advocate for change.” This is a powerful statement, as teachers are arguably teaching a classroom of figures who are so connected to technology that they are coming dangerously close to cyborgs.

Theme 4: The Feminine SF Cyborg

It’s okay to not be okay with the issue of humans invariably becoming cyborgs. This seems to be the underlying issue. Some embrace the idea of technological enhancement within their lives. Others cower at the thought. The reality is that our views of the Science Fiction ideal of cyborgs create a sense of discomfort within our core. We don’t want to lose who we are, what it means to be “human.” The SF cyborg tends to be more mechanic then organic. Haraway does state that where we fear fractured identities (losing our selves to the machine), future cyborgs are unafraid of this fracturing. They are somewhere in between what it means to be machine and human. The unfortunate aspect is that we all use technology to enhance our lives. Hmmm?!