A friend asked about my Master’s Thesis the other day. I was hunting through old computer files (c.1990) and found quotes that still seem to have a ring of reality.
My paper in 1990 barely considered networked computing, internet or anything like that. In fact it was sparked by a Presidential Commission on Instructional Technology that goes back 20 years before that (1970). In reviewing all the 1950s and 1960s era ‘technology’ that was applied to education.
In part it found:
1. Indifference or Antipathy toward Using Technology in Education
2. Poor Programs
3. Inadequate Equipment
5. Teachers Not Trained in Instructional Technology
6. Media Specialists Excluded from Central Planning
(Commission on Instructional Technology, 1970, 78-81)
“Today technology touches only a small fraction of instruction. Colleges, universities, and schools have been using television, films, computers, or programmed texts in instruction, but to a limited extent. The results are mixed, with some institutions making a creative and sustained use of the new media while others, after an initial burst of enthusiasm, quickly losing interest.” (Commission on Instructional Technology, 1970, p8)
As is was summarized in a presenation I heard in the late 1980s, “any technology will fail if it doesn’t tak into account the culture of the classroom”.
In the world of ‘social networking’ the message of understanding culture is more important than ever.