EDUCATION, TECHNOLOGY, AND CHANGE: QUERIES
Revised, October, 2000
Steven W. Gilbert and Ingrid Werge of the TLT Group, et al.
The following is an evolving list of questions intended to help individuals and institutions clarify values, set important goals, and review progress. These queries reflect the ongoing search for balance and clarity as institutions increase their commitments to integrating information technology into teaching, learning, and the life of the school community.
Participants in a workshop led by Steven W. Gilbert at the Second International Congress on Quaker Education developed the framework for the following series of questions, which have subsequently been expanded in a workshop sponsored by the Friends Association for Higher Education and the Friends Council on Education at Earlham College in the summer of 2000. We look forward to engaging others in extending this activity, revising our efforts, developing more queries on related topics, and learning how to use these queries most effectively.
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1. Humane and Appropriate Use of Technology
Do we individually and collectively use computerized and networked information technologies in a humane and appropriate manner that safeguards and edifies the dignity and sanctity of the person and the good of society?
How can educators avoid using information technology in ways that encourage illegal or unethical activities (e.g., intellectual property)?
2. Technology and Community
How can information technology enhance human interaction? In what ways is technology bringing people together, keeping them apart? In what ways is technology affecting the sense of community at the institution?
3. Equity of Access (within institution, across institutions, inside/outside, public)
In what ways does your institution support access to information technology for all members of the community regardless of their specific roles as students, staff, faculty, alumni, neighbors?
4. Technology and Economics
In your decision-making about and use of information technology, do you carefully consider the wider economic implications of participation in the processes of technological change?
How will the growing educational uses of information technology narrow or widen the gap between the quality of and access to educational experiences for those who are divided by wealth? How will participants deal with the disparity of access to information technology within a technology-rich school situated within a poorer community?
5. Compatibility with Institutional Values
How can the core values of the institution be integrated with educational uses of information technology? [How can the educational uses of information technology transform the teaching/learning process while maintaining overall goals of Quaker schools?]
6. Accommodating/Understanding Diversity of Attitudes Toward, Responses to, and Skills with Information Technology
In what ways does your [requiring/urging] use of information technology recognize differences in the level of comfort in using information technology? Familiarity with information technology? Skill level in using information technology? How can those who are NOT “early adopters” be supported and encouraged to participate consistent with their own values, beliefs, and skills?
How can an educational institution use new technology applications that support new modes of working together – without coercing participation from those not yet ready? How can an institution engage some people without forcing everyone? Avoid an all or nothing choice?
How does your educational program help users become more comfortable with and adept at using information technology? As you evaluate the effectiveness of your educational programs do you seek a wide range of people’s reactions to (and their guidance for) the use of technology to improve teaching and learning?
7. Coping with Information Flood
How can you as teachers help your students distinguish between information that clarifies and information that clutters? How can you as teachers ensure that your students inwardly digest and incorporate new information into their spiritual and mental growth, rather than simply gathering endlessly?
8. Keep Up, Slow Down (Discipline)
Do you inquire at regular intervals about the viability and appropriateness of the information technology you are using? Do you schedule your use of information technology so that the information can be reflectively considered over an appropriate time?
How can information technology be used to slow down the accelerating pace of living, communicating, thinking? [How will the growing uses of information technology affect Quaker simplicity?]
9. Enabling Use
Do you seek to use technology to extend your capabilities and those of your students? Do these uses provide an advantage over — or replacement for — other methods? Do you seek to adjust the technology to provide new or different insight(s) into your task or inquiry?
How can educational uses of information technology enhance or support the variety of teaching/learning styles?
10. “Opening Doors” to Broader, Deeper, Understanding, Wisdom
In what ways are you encouraging, through interdisciplinary studies and otherwise, an educational process which helps students organize, integrate, and give comprehensive meaning to the information they are receiving and which encourages then to remain open throughout their lives to new insights and understandings unfolding in the world?
11. Move from Lecturing to Facilitating and More Active Learning
What is the best use of the limited time students and faculty have to be with one another? When is a lecture the most effective means of conveying information? What tools and environments are most effective in enabling teachers to facilitate student learning?
How will educational uses of information technology diminish or enhance contact among students and teachers? Can information technology be integrated into teaching and learning in ways that allow the teacher to share students; “Aha!” experiences?
How can information technology foster a culture of inquiry among undergraduate students?
12. Evaluating and Selecting Combinations of Face-to-Face Meetings, Telecommunications, etc.
How will the availability of new technology options change the ways of education?
In what ways are you identifying or developing the most educationally useful combinations of face-to-face meetings, telecommunications, and independent work? What are you doing to understand more fully the unique educational assets only available in face-to-face meetings? What are you doing to learn how to use various forms of telecommunications to improve the quality and learning for students who can attend classes on campus and for those who cannot (or those who find it highly inconvenient to do so)? How can we tell if educational uses of information technology are improving the quality of education within an institution?
How will educators resist the pressures to adopt commercially attractive options that may have little intrinsic educational merit?
13. Resource Distribution and Job Security
How will the growing educational uses of information technology affect job security for teachers? Other professional educators? How can an educational institution reach agreement about faculty needs for access to information technology resources? How can the associated costs be allocated fairly and equitably? How will an institution be guided to allocate limited information technology resources and professional development services?
14. Lifelong Teaching, Lifelong Learning, Lifelong Professional Development
In what ways are you encouraging and supporting lifelong teaching and lifelong learning? How do you enable students to teach their peers, to teach their teachers, and to help others within and outside of your institution? How do you encourage and support alumni and retired faculty to continue learning and help with teaching? How do you use information technology to support lifelong teaching and lifelong learning? To what extent is each and every faculty member, staff person, and administrator engaged in activities that extend their own abilities to find, compare, select, and use new applications of information technology and new approaches to teaching and learning?