Michael C. Warren

Technology and Education

Vision of Educational Technology

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Vision of Educational Technology

J.C.R. Licklider said, “As part of its contribution to the intellectual process, the computer will explore consequences of assumptions. It will present complex systems of facts and relations from new points of view, ‘cutting the cake another way’ in a fraction of a second. It will test proposed plans of action through simulation. It will mediate and facilitate communication among human beings. It will revolutionize their access to information. It will even obtain for them the aid and services of other digital computers” (1962).  As one of the founding fathers of the Internet, Licklider envisioned a world in which humans would interact with computers to access information anywhere in the world.  Forty years later the Internet was growing rapidly, and today universities, public schools and a growing number of the population now have access to a global collection of information from anywhere that an Internet connection is available.  With this change I believe we are on the verge of a revolution in how public education is approached.  Not only will students be able to reference resources on the Internet, but also I believe schools will become more flexible in how courses are offered, including but not limited to, a combination online and physical-based schooling option.  “People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want” (Johnson, Levine, Smith, and Stone, 2010). This does not just include adult learners, but K-12 students as well, whether it be parents who need to travel with elementary or intermediate age children, or high school age students who need to fit a work schedule around their public education.  In the near future we will see a growing demand for flexible education options. “With limited tax bases, low enrollments and difficulty in attracting and keeping certified teachers, their issues are fundamental and can jeopardize their very existence. The data suggests that they are making valiant efforts to overcome these issues and online and blended learning are among the strategies for doing so while providing quality educational programs for their students” (Picciano & Seaman, 2010).

An additional resource to a more portable education is the increase in electronic books. The most recent forms of digital books can hold thousands of works.  Just as we saw the printing press make knowledge more available and portable five hundred years ago, we are seeing the same change occur again with modern technology.  Instead of students carrying around four or five books at a time, they have the means to obtain information from all over the world with just a few clicks or taps on a screen.  These two items will be key factors in how education will change in the next decade.

Sixty years ago our parents or grandparents relied on a daily newspaper, radio, or possibly television to get current and accurate information. If they needed to learn, they went to school or the library to get a book, encyclopedia, or journal; and, they were limited to what was available at that location.  Today, information is everywhere, and it seems that people can not get enough. The biggest growth area for accessing this information is in the mobile market. According to The Horizon Report “The fastest-growing sales segment belongs to smart phones – which means that a massive and increasing number of people all over the world now own and use a computer that fits in their hand and is able to connect to a network wirelessly from virtually anywhere” (Johnson, Levine, Smith, and Stone, 2010). The fastest selling mobile computer device is the iPad. With over 2 million sold, it is already being used on college campuses as a collection of research tools in regular and mobile classrooms, giving students the capability of accessing course material and communicating with their professors.  The law states that children are required to receive a public education, and this has been readily available in the form of school buildings; however, static buildings can limit students in both rural and urban environments. Rural students in smaller schools are often limited to core courses with the few electives that meet graduation requirements or that can be used to acquire additional funding. Urban schools can be limited to the neighborhood a child lives in and the school they are designated to attend.  These are physical limitations that mobile computing and online courses can help overcome. Some possible solutions that already exist are online schools that offer a wide selection of courses for all grade levels.  Some online schools even offer a fully accredited high school diploma.  Another scenario would be for public schools to offer select courses online and allow students from other schools around the world to take the course online. Students who are limited by their physical location would then have a broad network of choices provided by other public schools to enroll in courses that better fit their personal goals.

The printing press made it possible to reproduce books rapidly and distribute them to libraries, schools, and individuals. This increased the portability of education to what could be included in a book and how many books a person were available to.  When students can carry around a one-pound device in their bag, they are able to look up information from a large number of resources from around the world at any given moment. Since these devices can hold the digital version of thousands of books at any given time, the portability and accessibility of knowledge is as notable a leap as the printing press was. “An expanding world of content, including historical documents, literature, articles, reference works, maps, charts, graphs, timelines, and textbooks, can be found on the Internet” (Wahl and Duffield, 2005).  In addition to the amount of information the computer can hold and can retrieve, it will also be the tool used most to complete assignments. Betsy Price tells us that “To learn, students must use computers to store and organize information, enter and interpret data, do calculation, make graphs and charts, visualize difficult concepts, navigate interactive activities, receive immediate feedback, expand resources, update content, develop presentations, build publications, create artistic works, and so on” (2005).   J.C.R. Licklider was correct; the computer has revolutionized the way we store and retrieve information.

What we can envision is students using the Internet and portable devices to access their school work from anyplace in the world, at any time of the day. Students will be contacting classmates and teachers at anytime, completing assignments individually or in collaboration without ever having to step into a school building.  This is the change in education that I believe will be seen in the near future.


Computers and the World of the Future. (1962). Cambridge: The M.I.T. Press.

Johnson, L., Levine, A., Smith, R., & Stone, S. (2010). The 2010 Horizon Report. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Picciano, A., & Seaman, J. (2010). Class Connections: High School Reform and the Role of Online Learning. New York: Babson Survey Research Group.

Price, B. (2005). Who’s in Control of the Technology-Integrated School?. Principal Leadership, 6(1), 51.

Wahl, L., & Duffield, J. (2005). Using Flexible Technology to Meet the Needs of Diverse Learners. WestEd, 1-11.

Examination of Educational Technology Leadership (Assignment 2-2.docx)

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October 6th, 2010 at 11:04 am

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