19th September, 2023
I’m about to start the second year of my part-time Sociology of Education MA and, therefore, need to choose a thesis topic. I’ve tried several approaches to narrowing down my ideas:
- A Venn diagram where the circles are my main interests (technology education, edtech, techno futures), and I try to pinpoint a topic that lies perfectly in the intersection.
- A Venn diagram where the circles are my personal values as determined in a coaching session (equality, conviviality, calm, intellect, play), and I try to pinpoint a topic that lies perfectly in the intersection.
- A spreadsheet of ideas where I score them for value fit, career fit, interestingness and uniqueness.
- Discussing with several friends and colleagues.
The main thing I have learnt from this is that I am a chronic overthinker. I am placing a lot of emphasis on choosing the right topic as I feel it has to be the culmination of my life’s work, true to my values and propel me forward in the right direction for my career and PhD. No pressure.
If I look back over the past year at what has really inspired me, there are a few main things:
- Ivan Illich’s work, and specifically Tools for Conviviality
- All of Neil Selwyn’s recent talks and articles, particularly Digital degrowth: toward radically sustainable education technology
- Cennydd Bowles’ book Future Ethics
- The work of the Digital Futures Commission
I think this nudges me towards writing something about convivial tools for children using design-led and speculative research methods. I hope writing short blog posts like this over the coming weeks will help me figure the topic out more specifically.