Purpose- This paper sets out to argue that the strategic implementation of technology is implicated in a range of crises or socio‐economic disruptions, like peak oil, climate change and the rising environmental costs of energy consumption. It aims to argue that institutional technological implementation is contested, complex and should not be treated deterministically, but that technologists might usefully consider the impact of these disruptions on their practices. The paper seeks to amplify how a focus on resilience, rather than marketised outcomes, can enable higher education to use technology to overcome or adapt to disruption and crises. Design/methodology/approach- The paper is a critique. A conceptual analysis of the place of current research into the use of technology‐enhanced learning in higher education is critiqued in light of peak oil and climate change, in order to align strategic developments with disruptions and potential responses. The strategic response of one institution is outlined as a programme‐of‐work and is related to a second university’s approach. Findings- The paper highlights five areas that require strategic responses to the use of technology in and for HE. These are: the place of TEL in the idea of the University; complexity in the use of technology, linked to shared values; adapting to disruption; institutional planning; and competing priorities for the use of technology. Originality/value- The paper highlights the educational connections that are made between the politics of technology, shared values and socio‐environmental disruption. It also analyses a programme of work that is designed to engage with and adapt to disruption.