To tech or not to tech…a “frozen thought” dilemma.

Why are humans so stupid? This is the question James Paul Gee attempts to answerbanned cell phones in his book, The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students through Digital Learning, (2013). While he focuses on several issues in his book, my essay reflects on the term he calls “frozen thought,” which is a byproduct of human created institutions.

In my essay I focus on the current technology use policy in my district and how we have had to work through the difficult process of unfreezTwo_Cell_Phones_2ing a policy that is out of date. Gee puts forward some very intriguing ideas, but with the right awareness perhaps humans can be smart after all.



Gee, J.P. (2013). The anti-education era: Creating smarter students through digital learning. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan

Wikipedia. (n.d.) Retrieved from

Pixabay. (n.d.) Retrieved from


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2 Responses to To tech or not to tech…a “frozen thought” dilemma.

  1. schiggs says:

    @tech4teachers19 I also found Gee’s insights on institutions compelling. It has been years, since philosophy studies in undergrad, that I have put any conscious thought into what an “institution” is. Gee reminded me that an institution is any group or idea that works toward a common goal (Gee, 2013, p. 85). I was immediately reminded of a set of banter a college friend and I used to have centered around the idea of ‘social construction.’ It is quite silly, but basically everything is a social construction, so all arguments are invalid because they are based on social constructions. So anything we would say, that sounded factual, to each other was always spark a “— is a social construction” response.

    Gee also shocked me with how many cultural institutions we have. For example, dress code is a frozen institution, or standard, which allows us to always know what is appropriate and reduce the need to actively think about what is appropriate. Standardization is quite interesting because it woks to “think for us” (Gee, 2013, p. 86), which we demonize in education, but actually has practical importance in other situations, like dress code.

    I found your summation of Gee’s insights on frozen institutions clear and I appreciated your connections to student tech in your school district. I am very impressed you, and your institution, were able to unfreeze a frozen institution with such vigor. Maybe there is hope for other frozen standards too.

  2. I found your take on Gee’s book very interesting. I have to agree that too often an old way of doing something becomes out of date. For you it was the rule of using cell phones. At my school we are currently teaching a class about a form of technology that is becoming outdated quickly. There are new forms of technology that is replacing this old form, but we are unable to change it. There has to be several meetings before it can even be replace. This could take over a year, which means while we are waiting the students are getting taught outdated information.

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