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Pedagogical Neutrality and Engagement
Norm Frinsen

Technical standards and specifications enabling the interoperation of elearning systems and content have recently been the subject of much research and development. One claim that is frequently associated with these standards is that they are “pedagogically neutral” –able to address requirements regardless of the specific pedagogical tasks or contexts in which these requirements arise. This paper challenges such claims by arguing that, as Jean Paul stated over 200 years ago, “to speak about pedagogy is to speak about everything at once.” In the place of “neutral” standards, this paper advocates the development of pedagogically “engaged” or “committed” conceptions of content and systems that directly address some educational purposes, situations and methods, but not others.

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