CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

Possible Futures: The Role of Technology in Education

Date of Award

1998

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Steven R. Terrell

Committee Member

Marlyn Kemper Littman

Committee Member

Getrude W. Abramson

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to provide a framework for developing an effective vision for the role of computing and telecommunications technology in education. Through a review of relevant literature and utilization of the information acquired in a proven scenario construction process, four scenarios were developed which serve as frameworks for consideration of the future role of computing and telecommunications technology in education. The scenarios define and focus attention on key elements, variables and processes which may shape the future role of computing and telecommunications technology in education. They bring a comprehensible form to a vast array of information and concepts relating to a complex system arising from the interrelationships between three primary sub-systems - society, education, and technology - which are in tum composed of a number of systems, variables and associated relationships. By creating an increased awareness and understanding of the complexity and systemic nature of education, and the role of technology in education, these scenarios serve as tools for increased effectiveness in vision formation, planning, and decision-making concerning the purpose and overall vision of education, and the role of computing and telecommunications technologies within that vision.

The product scenarios establish and delineate a range of possible futures for education and the role of technology in education. It is found that although it is not possible to predict what precise future will emerge for the education system and the role of technology within it, the system will move within a field of space defined and limited by the interactions and relationships of the component system elements. These elements and this space are defined and possible futures presented. Two conceptions are proposed concerning the role of education in society, and the role of technology in education. These are advanced as frameworks within and around which local school districts and schools may create their own visions for education and sub visions for the role of technology in education. Because the many variables in the system under study as well as their relationships with each other change over time and may be observed from varying perspectives, this work should be viewed as a foundational phase in a project that will involve continuing data collection, research, and scenario tracking and updating.

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