Last week I wrote a post on erasure and edtech, and this morning I saw that Stephen Downes has replied.

He writes that he “can’t verify whether Audrey Watters ever wrote this, because a Google search doesn’t turn it up.” Fair. I added a link to the original post, but here it is, as well.

Stephen also writes that the Woolf whitepaper discussed didn’t actually vanish, as he can find a copy through the Internet archive. My original post included a link to a copy (second paragraph here, linked from the original), so as to be clear that the whitepaper isn’t gone as in “no one can ever find it.” It vanished as in: “it’s no longer prominent, visible, accessible, and readily available.” And certainly, Internet sleuthing, given time, effort, skill, and some knowledge about the thing you’re looking for may yield evidence of it, though your mileage might vary.

One way to read “vanish” is to do what Stephen does, which is to zoom in and ask a literal question: Is the paper available somewhere? Another way is to zoom out, and ask: Have there been attempts to erase, rewrite, and reframe histories of edtech (e.g., through practices like removing references and ignoring critiques)? That’s how I understand erasure to work.