Our past influences our future

Technologies are developed based on old technologies. This is true because the capabilities of new technologies are limited by the existence of previous technologies. Also, adoption of new technologies is based on what makes sense to us, which is moderated by our past use of technologies. This logic has much in common with learning, but that is for another time.

We must be aware of this logic as it is destined to prevent fundamental change in education. Some people are excited about the ipad or the kindle fire because of the way it will allow development of digital textbooks. This misses the deeper issue of why we need textbooks at all? The smart board makes a lot of sense in light of the chalkboard, overhead, & LCD projector, but makes little sense in light of social learning theory. Perhaps we ought to be asking why we continually adopt technologies that reinforce the teaching wall & teacher centric classrooms?

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3 Responses to Our past influences our future

  1. Nicely said. . . Like the difference between conducting a “remodel” and a “redesign.” If I remodel my home, I can certainly upgrade and improve much of it, but it is still constrained by the existing structure, yard, and neighborhood. However, if I redesign it allows me to start with a blank sheet of paper and design the home I want using structures specifically designed for what I want the home to do for me. Until we confront this notion that we can “continuously improve” or simply “remodel” the system we have, we will not make the necessary and fundamental changes to the system.

    Designing a propulsion system allowing us to escape the Earth’s atmosphere wasn’t simply a remodel of the propulsion system to improve air travel/transportation. While informed by the old technology, it wasn’t constrained by it – it required starting over to create structures and processes that would achieve a very new and different function – space travel.

    Its taken me awhile to “get” what you are saying about the technology, but as the classic song goes, “I can see clearly now….” :-) Thanks, Jerrid!



    • jerridkruse says:

      Glad you see clearly now! All learning takes time, right? :)

      You know, the problem with redesigning a system rather than remodel, is 1) how do we “forget” all we “know” from our experience and 2) so very few people are uncomfortable with small changes let alone a complete redesign!

      Of course, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. :)


  2. AMEN! Nobody ever said it was going to be easy


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