Education and Values: Interface on the Internet

Case Study 1

Learning to Understand and Accept ICT

A northwestern university conducted a conference on the transformation of the manner in which technology is applied to education. This conference was met with reluctance, and after the first day, this email was received: “Knowledge and technology do not make good teaching practice. Wisdom and experience are truly missing in our flight to spend money on technology. As I reflect on the event, I would have enjoyed your oldest faculty member telling us how to use the blackboard better. The wisdom of teaching would then have been practiced positively.”
After the second day’s session the same participant sent another email with the following quote. “I mentioned to my wife how in the past we would reflect before we sent a letter, and I have often torn up a letter written in the wrong spirit. Email does not allow that time of reflection. I reacted before I reflected. As a ethicist, I need to learn what I teach. The conference was designed to teach us something important about technology. It has succeeded in areas I had not dreamt. Thank you to all concerned. I will continue my reflection and pass on some of those thoughts at another time. Professor Bailey has taught me something very powerful. He mentioned in his Friday lecture how we have to go through disequalibrium if we are to change. He is truly correct. Saturday morning had a grand dose of disequalibrium for me. I learned too much about my self and the role technology has in my life. I trust that I can pass that knowledge onto my students and colleagues.”

Key Points and Questions:
In what ways does this case study raise issues regarding:
- the speed of dissemination of our ideas and emotions
- the affective elements associated with conceptual and practical change
- ways can we help colleagues face the challenges of letting go of a comfortable paradigm in the face of disequilibrating new experiences.
* People are reluctant to change
* Conceptual change can be emotionally as well as intellectually challenging
* We should reflect before we react
* What is an easy way to ease people into using technology?
* It is all too easy to send out an email message in the heat of emotion

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Last Updated 1/23/02
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Questions: Mark Bailey -