Edu Tech Time Machine

2016-01-15_1011This should be filed under “the-more-things-change-the-more-they-remain-the-same” if I had such a file. I was waiting in the library for a faculty member to return from a meeting the other day and I took off the shelf the Jan. 1960 copy of “Instructor” magazine. Thumbing through it at random to enjoy some vintage ads. I came across the article “How Effective Is Teaching with Television?” and I was struck with how familiar the arguments were for and against this new application of technology:

“Education technology has created quite a stir among educators in the last few years. Some see television as a means with which to solve their most serious problems:

  • Television will help solve the teacher shortage!
  • Television will cut construction costs through better utilization of school plants!
  • Television will enable us to to teach larger groups, more effectively. by using master teachers!
  • Using master teachers, television will improve teaching and learning!

Not all reactions, however, are as optimistic and many educators seem seriously alarmed:

  • How can we diagnose individual needs and provide challenging experiences to meet these needs when hundreds are crowded into a telecast room?
  • How can we continue to encourage critical evaluation on the part of pupils in a stimulating environment?
  • How can we provide a variety of learning experiences: group discussion, group planning, problem solving, and construction?
  • How can we organize subject matter and learning activities meaningfully to help children discover relationships among many subject areas?

It is evident from such statements that we must give serious consideration to educational television before our attitudes toward this unique new medium of communication become so discolored by emotional bias as to render it ineffective for years to come.” 

This evaluation could be right out of the pages of any “analysis” of MOOCs or virtually any discussion of education technology past and present. I have even seen discussions like this from the early 19th cent. around the slate chalk board.



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