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Social, Historical and Educational Foundations of Technology: Past and Present Shelly DeHavens ETC 567 Technology, Society and Education Tammy Sherrard M.Ed., Instructor September 29, 2008
Foundations of Technology 2
Abstract Since the early part of the 19th century we have been utilizing technology for many purposes (Reiser, 2001a, p. 55). There have been significant developments in the industry that have affected wars, how we learn and how we live our everyday lives. Gaming has become a huge part of our society showing more popularity than television or movies (Stanley, Mawer, 2008, p. 4). Gaming has also impacted the educational community and continues to impact the way our children learn (Squire, 2002, p.7).
Foundations of Technology 3
Social, Historical and Educational Foundations of Technology: Past and Present
Many predictions of how technology was going to effect out society came and went without much success. In the 20th century there were many new tools created to potentially help the field of education but none of which had a huge impact (Zhao, Frank, 2003, p.807). The “Visual Education” movement introduced media such as films, slides and photographs. These were used in some schools during the later part of the 19th century. The motion picture projector was one of the more popular devices seen in the classroom (Reiser, 2001a, p.55). In 1910, the Rochester NY public school system was the first to use films for instruction purposes. Just earlier that year the first sets of instructional films were published (Reiser, 2002a, p.55). This was a hug breakthrough for technology and the way it was integrated into the curriculum. Thomas Edison projected that “Books will soon be obsolete in the schools…It is possible to teach every branch of human knowledge with the motion picture. Our school system will be completely changed in the next ten years” (cited in Reiser, 2001a, p.55). During the next ten years books did not become obsolete however, educational media did progress. During the next decade (1914-1923), more focus was being put on training teachers to use the new innovative techniques in their classroom. Journals were established that focused on visual instruction and five organizations for visual instructions were founded (Reiser, 2001a, p.55).
Foundations of Technology 4 The early 1920’s through the 1930’s brought more technological advances. Radio broadcasting, sound recordings, and sound motion pictures became known as the Audiovisual Instruction Movement. The incorporation of sound was a great advancement but it did not impact the educational sector like anticipated (Reiser, 2001a, p.56). Due partly to the Great Depression in 1929 interest in educational media started to dwindle all together. Large companies that had invested in the movement reportedly lost over $50 million during this time (Reiser, 2001a, p.56). During the 30’s audiovisual fanatics were foreseeing radio to be the next technology piece that was going to revolutionize education. Like the motion picture it proved to have little impact on education in the years following (Reiser, 2001a, p.56). World War II had a slowing effect on the audiovisual movement. Technology was not at a standstill however. The military used the motion picture to create training tapes used to train soldiers for the war. Over 4 million films were shown to the military services between 1943 and 1945 (Reiser, 2001a, p.56). Overhead projectors, slide projectors, audio equipment, and simulators were among the most beneficial pieces of technology used during the war (Reiser, 2001a, p.57). Training films also were created to assist civilians in leaning skills in the industry (Reiser, 2001a, p.57). Following the war there was a renewed interest in technology. In the 1950’s the television became a way of delivering instruction in the classroom. This interest in television as a teaching tool was funded and supported by the Federal Communications Commission of Educational Channels and Ford Foundations funding. The National Science Foundation was also a contributor (Coley, 1997, p.10). The Federal Communications Commission delegated 242 separate educational channels for the
Foundations of Technology 5 purpose of teaching in the classroom. In 1960 there were at least 50 public “educational” television stations (Reiser, 2001a, p.58). In the 60’s the Ford Foundation spent over $170 million on the educational closed circuit television programs. The programs on the channels proved to be less than adequate and the trend tapered off. The biggest gripe about the programs was they were simply just an instructor delivering a lecture. Other attributions to the disinterest were teacher resistance to the programs, the expensive nature of keeping the equipment working and installing getting the hardware installed. School districts discontinued the program when funding was taken away (Reiser, 2002a, p.58). During the 1970’s the term “educational technology” officially replaced “audiovisual instruction” and by the 80’s computers were the newest technological innovation (Reiser, 2001a, p.59). Educational technology was defined as “the most advanced technologies available for teaching and learning in a particular era” (Coley, 1997, p.11). The microcomputer became a popular device to develop computer based instruction (Reiser, 2001b, p.62). It was an attractive piece of technology to many educators because of its small size and performance (Reiser, 2001a, p59). In the mid-90’s computers were in schools and used often for educational purposes however, the impact on the educational world was still small at that point (Reiser, 2001a, p.59). Computers of the mid 1960’s to the 1980’s really didn’t have enough memory or processing power to make a large impact on educational technology (Riley, 2007, p.90). They lacked storage capacity and communication capabilities (Riley, 2007, p.91). After 1996 computers were not only able to hold large amounts of information but communication became possible with more access to the internet. The internet impacted
Foundations of Technology 6 the educational world significantly from the late 1980’s to present day (Riley, 2007, p.91). In 1996 President Bill Clinton embraced the educational potential computers offered and came up with a technology plan for school districts. He announced four goals for educational technology as reported by Coley (1997): 1. All teachers in the nation will have the training and support they need to help students learn using computers and the information superhighway. 2. All teachers and students will have modern multimedia computers in their classrooms. 3. Every classroom will be connected to the information superhighway. 4. Effective software and on-line learning resources will be an integral part of every school’s curriculum (Coley, 1997, p.10). To help achieve these technology goals America’s Technology Literacy Challenge was formed, a teacher recruitment program was implemented and the Tech Corps helped by volunteering at schools to integrate technology. In 1997, President Clinton continued his educational technology crusade by asking for huge increases in funding for America’s Technology Literacy Challenge (Coley, 1997, p.10).
In 1995 there was an increase in utilizing the internet to provide instruction. Distance learning programs have been growing ever sense (Reiser, 2001b, p.62). Online learning opened many doors for students who would otherwise not have access to further their education. Education has become a very social practice. Face to face instructions influences motivation, and community membership. These are two important challenges
Foundations of Technology 7 that providers of online education must take into consideration when designing their courses (Tsai, Kim, Liu, Goggins, Kumalasari, Laffey , 2008, p199) . In a study completed by Hara and Kling in 2000, it was found that students were frustrated with the lack of social interaction in online classes (Tsai, et al, 2008, p198). In a study done by Carr in 2000, it showed the dropout rate for distance education students was 10%-20% greater then traditional education students (Tsai, et al, 2008, p198). By identifying the challenges we can then work towards eliminating them. Active participation by students is crucial in online courses but in order to promote interaction students must feel a sense of community. It was proven that students who felt a strong sense of community had more satisfaction with their online course (Tsai,et al, 2008, p207).
Technology and Society: Gaming Gaming has made huge technological advances in the past 30 years (Guschwan, 2008) . I have seen the benefits of gaming socially and educationally through the years and I believe it plays an important role in our society. Personally, I have seen and supported the process of the gaming evolution. The Commodore 16, Commodore 64, Atari, Nintendo, Playstation and Wii have all had huge impacts on the way games are played today. Just over 30 years old, gaming has becoming a form of entertainment that has proven to be greatly profitable and influential (Squire, p.1). Game consoles, software and hardware have brought in an estimate $19 billion worldwide (Squire, p.1). As a physical education teacher I believe that the current advancements in gaming (Wii fit/sports, Playstation’s DDR) can make an impact on the fitness levels of today’s
Foundations of Technology 8 society. There has always been such a negative stigma attached to “video games” but I believe over the next ten years that negative impression will begin to diminish. It has been a challenge for educators to compete with the thrill and excitement that gaming brings to students. Teacher instruction can be mundane and seen as boring compared to fast paced, exhilarating games that the students enjoy playing (Stanley, Mawer, 2008, p. 3). Incorporating these games and referencing these games in class instruction may help grab the interest of their students (Stanley, Mawer, 2008, p. 3). With data showing that video games are played more than television and movies are watched we can see that the trends in leisure activities are changing (Stanley, Mawer, 2008, p. 4). The Games to Teach Project has been trying to link the education world to the gaming world for years. They argue that learning can happen while playing games that aren’t exactly labeled “educational games” (Squire, 2002, p.7). They have been working hard to create games that not only teach valuable lessons such as Physics and Engineering but games that also incorporate complex social networks, rich characters, and a range of emotions and experiences (Squire, 2002, p.8). Since the 80’s and the Pac-Man craze many game creators have been consulting guidelines that have been said to create enjoyable education programs in games: 1. Clear goals that students find meaningful 2. Multiple goal structures and scoring to give students feedback on their progress 3. Multiple difficulty levels to adjust the game difficulty to learner skill 4. An emotionally appealing fantasy and metaphor that is related to game skill This gives educators and others a theoretical model of how games become successful and what must be present for the success (Squire, p.2). Video games have the potential to
Foundations of Technology 9 improve learning environments through challenging students, collaboration, assessments and by simply offering a fun way to learn (Squire, p.3). Violence in games has always been a concern of video game critics. Many games do not teach violence but researchers still claim that it has a lasting impact on students and their cognitive development (Squire, 2002, p. 8). The idea of most educators is that games contain aggression, negative imagery of women and social isolation. On the contrary, some educators also feel that studying gaming and the attraction to it may hold the key to improve the excitement factor in the classroom. Many of the studies completed in reference to gaming and its impact on society are outdated and neglect to take into consideration the recent developments that incorporate social contexts and the internet (Squire, p. 1). The “wow experience” is what attracts players to games (Guschwan, 2008). That is just what we are being presented with when it comes to the newest game consoles. The Nintendo Wii incorporated many features into its system. The wireless, sensored controller allowing the system to detect motion and rotation is one of the features that makes it stand out form the rest. This controller allows for a high level of physical interaction. The concept of the sensor and the design of the games create a social aspect to the gaming console (Pearson, Bailey, 2007, p. 833). The new threshold of gaming includes emotional synthesizers such as the ones incorporated in the Wii: hand gestures, postures, facial expressions, and social interaction (Guschwan, 2008). The Wii offers exercise benefits (Wii fit and Wii sports) which could be incorporate into schools and Physical Education programs all over the world. The Wii would allow students with physical limitations, such as a wheelchair bound student, the chance to
Foundations of Technology 10 participate on equal terms with their peers. It could assist with reaction time, hand eye coordination and could be used as a social medium for classrooms (Pearson, Bailey, 2007, p.883). Students with developmental and cognitive disabilities such as autism could benefit form the social interaction and collaboration with their peers. The Wii could also assist in improving language, math and reading skills (Pearson, Bailey, 2007, p.883). Students with muscular dystrophy can utilize the game to assist with physical therapy and add some excitement to their therapy sessions (Pearson, Bailey, 2007, p.884).
Conclusion: The history of technology in America is extensive and impressive. Many tools have been incorporated into the education setting; some being more successful than others. Despite many attempts of incorporating various technology media into the classroom we have finally been successful (Reiser, 2001b,p.62) . With the use of computers, and the internet in classrooms we are seeing a strong trend in technology education that will continue to impress (Tsai, et al, 2008, p.62). A technology trend that has been strong through the years is gaming. Games have been used in and out of the classroom for over 30 years and have advanced significantly (Squire, p.2). We have moved from the days of the Commodore and Atari to the days of the Wii and Playstation (Guschwan, 2008).. As research continues, there will be a significant amount of data on the effects of video gaming and how it can be used as an educational tool.
Foundations of Technology 11 Coley, R., (1997). Computers and Classrooms: The Status of Technology in US Schools. Princeton N.J,:Policy Information Center-Educational Testing Service
Guschwan, B. (2008). A History of Video Game Development [Online Video]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kSiYf7gJlo
Pearson, E., Bailey, C., (2007). Evaluating the Potential of the Nintendo Wii to Support Disables Students in Education. In ICT: Providing choices for learners and learning. Proceedings ascilite Singapore 2007. http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/singapore07/procs/pearson-poster.pdf
Reiser, R., (2001a). A History of Instructional Design and Technology; Part 1: A History of Instructional Media. CTR&D 49(1), 53-64. Retrieved September 18, 2008 from http://libproxy.nau.edu:2075/content/884v653u0641h87/Fulltext.pdf
Reiser, R., (2001b). A History of Instructional Design and Technology; Part II: A History of Instructional Design. CTR&D 49(2), 57-67. Retrieved September 18, 2008 from http://libproxy.nau.edu:2075/content/t84v161740422678/fulltext.pdf
Riley, D., (2007). Educational Technology and Practice: Types and Time Scales of Change.[Electronic version]. Educational Technology & Society, 10(1), 85-93
Foundations of Technology 12 Stanley, G., Mawer, K., (2008). Language Learners and Computer Games: From Space Invaders to Second Life, 11(4), 1-14. Retrieved September 18, 2008, from TESL-EJ Databases.
Squire, K., (2002). Cultural Framing of Computer/Video Games. [Electronic Version]. The International Journal of Computer Game Research, 2(1), 240-247
Squire, K., (n.d). Video Games in Education. Retrieved September 19, 2008 from http://cyberfest.us/Education/Video_Games_in_Education-MIT_study.pdf
Tsai, I., Kim, B.,Liu, P., Goggins, S., Kumalasari, C., Laffey, J. (2008). Building a Model Explaining the Social Nature of Online Learning. Educational Technology and Society, 11(3), 198-215.
Zhao, Y., Frank, K. (2003). Factors Affecting Technology Uses in Schools: An Ecological Perspective [Electronic version]. American Educational Research Journal, 40(4), 807840. Retrieved September 20, 2008, from jstor.org database.