Educational Technology Vision
among other things, distinguished from other creatures living on this planet by
the ability to design, create and modify tools. These tools are always built and
used within a cultural and geographical context and have the potential to both
improve and harm human and other life. It is the nature of humans not only to
invent tools but also use them -- sometimes at our peril.
Educators have always used technology in instruction. The technology is
sometimes the object of instruction (how does this work?), sometimes a tool to
deliver instruction (video, text book), and sometimes a tool to assist students
to explore their world (camera, pencil & paper, word processor, internet).
In the current surge of computer and information technology development, some
believe that we must focus our curriculum on teaching students this technology.
The words of John Ralston Saul offer a caution to such an about face in our
"Concentration on technology will simply produce obsolete
graduates. The problem is not to teach skills in a galloping
technology, but to teach students to think and to give them the tools of thought
so that they can react to the myriad changes, including technological, that will
inevitably face them over the next decades." (The Unconscious Civilisation, 1995
Anansi Press pg. 66)
The Nova Scotia Public School Program states that public school education in
Nova Scotia has two goals:
"to help all students
develop to their full potential cognitively, affectively, physically and
“ to help all
students acquire the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary for them to
continue as thinking, learning, physically active, valued members of society"
Students who graduate from high school with the ability to use
their minds well will be in the best position to achieve these life long
The tools used to reach these goals are changing more rapidly now than ever
before and the skills needed to operate these new tools are dramatically
different than many of those of a decade ago. In fact, for many students, the
use of assistive technologies allows many students previously disenfranchised,
the opportunity to participate more fully in our society.
When all is said and done, teaching is a human activity, which requires respect
for the role of both teacher and learner. The challenge facing educators and
society at large is to build a more humane society using our machines and
imaginations, and not to use technology as a tool to further dehumanise and
alienate us. A shovel can be used to plant a seed or to destroy a root.
The following pages, then, should be
seen as helpful information for students,
teachers and parents alike who wish to explore
the tools provided in our schools.