Weber, Durkheim (19th century)
- Learning is
cultural reproduction and changes in social dynamics.
- Technology is
seen as rational, ordered and controlled—all advantageous qualities.
- Americans have
long assumed that technological solutions might bring increased efficiency
order and productivity to education—now, if we could just find the
right one…joint ventures with business have often taken this approach;
Replace old technology (teachers) with new technology (computers)
- There have been
many unforeseen social effects with the implementation of technologies.
Does technology contribute to the problem or solutions?
- Beside the efficiency
model people, there is a group that sees technology as a basis for
increased lateral communication, community and democracy. Yet another
view proposes that technology might be used to emulate art over science
and the scientific method, focusing on values rather than proof.
“We must refuse to accept efficiency as the pre-eminent goal” says
- In the last
150 years, schools and education have been universally institutionalized
having defined sets of bureaucratic procedures for processing students,
dealing with teachers, staff and addressing the public and communities.
- As technology
is seen as a solution to bureaucracy, sociologists ask what technological
conditions encourage bureaucracies to become more flexible and responsive?
- How are traditional
roles of administrators, students, teachers and the community (parents)
changed with the introduction of technology into schools?
have built in political and social meanings (Winner L., 1980) by virtue
of the ways we define, design and use them.
- The growing
move toward high-stakes computerized testing could disadvantage minority
- What does it
mean socially and politically in our different groups not to have
a cel phone, laptop, PDA, projector, whiteboard, digital camera, computer
in the classroom, printer, CD burner, DVD player, gaming console,
car, email address, or website—or the latest, greatest version of
- If technology
is viewed as a support for teachers and a validation of their role
and authority, then it will be accepted, but will be disregarded if
it is seen as a replacement or alternative to a teacher’s presence
and worth. Computers seems to fall somewhere in the middle.
- Where educational
technology is introduced, ongoing training and support must be provided,
school and district support should be clear, and teachers should be
given opportunity to develop their own style.
- In the final
analysis, educational technology’s primary impact in schools may be
less about student learning, and more about the work done in schools:
how it is defined, who does it, why, and how it connects with the
surrounding community and systems of which it is a part. What does
a classroom look and feel like, is learning more active or passive
- That technology
impacts our society is clear (automobile, telephone, television, microwave,
computer, Internet) What the moral and ethical consequences are is
less clear and rarely examined. A new critical sociology of educational
technology is needed to consider the sociological consequences.
study of how people interact as members of groups and organizations.
- Groups of
affiliation (joined voluntary) vs. ascription (involuntarily assigned)
as new form of cultural capital (digital divide)
of technology (Neil Postman)
- Seems to
have relation to systems theory views
on groups and bureaucratic organizations (complex self-regulating
systems, resistant to change)
some power structure and hierarchical structures addressed by
post-modernism and feminism
[back to top]
- Sure a lot of
questions…scant on solutions.
- Technology plays
a big role in social change (= education) because it affects bureaucracies
which thing schools are—It’s a perspective…sounds ok, but I’m not
sure the argument is solid enough.
- I disagree with
the premise that technological assistance will ultimately lead to
expert replacement—it may lead to one becoming expert in other areas.
Replacement should not be feared. (easy for me to say in my prime)
- Computers are
talked about as if they represent one thing. Computers do so many
different things that speaking of them in such terms is both meaningless
and counterproductive. They are used to process complex datasets,
communicate with grandma, handle financial transactions, play games,
teach skills, write novels, control robots, record experiments, design
airplanes, test spelling, edit movies, count buffalo, test blood pressure,
tutor students in physics concepts. It makes no sense to speak of
them so generally as if the hardware had cynical or mystical properties--Guns
don’t kill, people kill!
Relevance to Instructional
Systems Design (ISD)
- Understand the
attributes of different technologies so as not to confound an intended
message. Instead select technology that best facilitates the desired
activities and/or message with the least amount of “noise”.
- Understand that
technology can be used to enforce power structures and roles, or to
largely eliminate such structures and empower students to explore
- Technology is
an amplifier—of both good and bad practice.
- Technology can
execute defined sets of rules and tasks (drill and kill activities)
potentially changing the nature of what teachers and instructors should
spend their time doing in class.
- Dealing with
a group of self-directed learners with significant resources to control
and satisfy their own learning is no easy job.
- IDs must be
capable of separating the technically feasible from the ethically
desirable (J. Weizenbaum, MIT)
What I Don’t Know
yet / Questions
- Technology is
believed to be the great democratizer of society—in some ways it is,
but it has also created a class system of haves and have-nots. How
real is the digital divide, and in what contexts does it matter?