This free Information Age Education
is edited by Dave Moursund and produced by Ken
Loge. The newsletter is one component of the Information Age
Education (IAE) publications.
All back issues of the newsletter and subscription information are
In addition, six free books based on the newsletters are
available: Validity and Credibility
of Information; Education for Students’
Futures; Understanding and
Mastering Complexity; Consciousness
and Morality: Recent
an Appropriate 21st Century Education;
and Common Core State
Standards for Education in
Developing a Personal Philosophy of
Computers in Education
Emeritus Professor of Education
University of Oregon
“Mankind owes to the child the best it has to give.” (United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child, 1959.)
“Imagine a school with children that can read or write, but with
teachers who cannot, and you have a metaphor of the Information Age in
which we live.” (Peter Cochrane; United Kingdom engineer, technologist,
and entrepreneur; 1950-.)
“The most dangerous experiment we can conduct with our children is to
keep schooling the same at a time when every other aspect of our
society is dramatically changing.” (Chris Dede; American computer
educator and futurist; from written statement to the PCAST panel,
“If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don't bother trying
to teach them. Instead give them a tool, the use of which will lead to
new ways of thinking.” (Richard Buckminster Fuller; American engineer,
author, designer, inventor, and futurist; 1895-1983.)
This is the last in a sequence of five IAE Newsletters
focusing on possible changes designed to significantly improve our
educational systems. The first explores Robert Branson’s Upper Limit
Hypothesis (Moursund, October 15, 2016). A number of years ago, Branson
suggested that it would take a major paradigm shift (most likely based
on computer technology) to significantly improve educational outcomes.
The second newsletter explores some of the challenges of setting and
improving educational goals, effectively implementing these educational
goals, and developing good measures of how well we are achieving the
goals (Moursund, October 31, 2016). Remember, every student is unique,
and education is a very complex and challenging endeavor.
The third newsletter lists and briefly discusses a number of
ongoing and new changes in our world that are affecting and/or probably
should be affecting education (Moursund, November 15, 2016). That
newsletter mentions Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a
yen and yang change agent—one having both positive and negative impacts.
The fourth presents the idea of adding Computational Reasoning (Computational Thinking) as a 4th R.
Each of the 4Rs is both a discipline of study and an interdisciplinary
tool. (Moursund, November 30, 2016). The 4Rs are foundational in a
This current IAE Newsletter
focuses on the idea that each educator has a personal philosophy of
education. For today’s educators, it is important that this philosophy
include the appropriate roles of Information and Communication
Technology (ICT) in education. It draws heavily from a talk I gave in
2006 (Moursund, February, 2006). The Quotations Given at the Beginning of this Newsletter
I like to collect and use poignant quotations that are
representative of my beliefs (Moursund, 2016b). The four quotations
given above provide some insight into my current philosophy of
Computers in Education. Think about some ideas that occur to you as you
ponder each quotation. Doing so will help you to gain insight into your
current personal philosophy of education and computer technology in
Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom popularized the song It’s a Small World written by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. Here is a small piece of the song:
It's a world of laughter A world of tears It's a world of hopes And a world of fears There's so much that we share That it's time we're aware It's a small world after all
Probably the tune is now going through your head. If not, you can listen to the tune at http://www.niehs.nih.gov/kids/lyrics/smworld.htm. Want to learn more about Disneyland? Short video clips are available at http://www.gofox.com/vacations/dlexplore.php?explore=Clips.
Does it seem a little strange to you that a person can be reading an
article from a computer screen, click on a piece of the article, and
almost immediately be listening to a tune or viewing video clips that
help the article to communicate more effectively? Probably not strange
to you, and almost undoubtedly not strange to the many children
throughout the world now growing up in this online environment. For
these children, it is the new norm—it has indeed become “a small world”.
I strongly believe today’s modern education must fully incorporate the
steadily growing capabilities of ICT and the Web. I think of the Web as
a library of the accumulated work of humankind. In the words of Albert
“A hundred times every day I remind
myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other
men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in
the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.” (Albert
Einstein; German-born theoretical physicist and 1921 Nobel Prize
Perhaps Einstein was exaggerating, but his statement raises an
important idea. In our day-to-day activities we depend on and build on
the previous work of others. For example, a few minutes ago I turned on
my computer. It draws electricity from a huge electrical generation and
distribution system. The hardware and software of my computer represent
the works of thousands of researchers, developers, and distributors. I
think it is a good idea to thoroughly integrate this sense of our
indebtedness to countless others into our educational systems. Developing a Personal Philosophy of Education
Many years ago, some of my Computers in Education graduate students
told me about a course they were taking, one in which they were
required to develop a personal philosophy of education. They said it
was one of the most useful assignments they had ever been asked to do.
I remember sort of laughing at the time—who needs to write down a
philosophy of education?
I have gradually matured over the years and now realize the value of
that assignment. Consider two very different philosophies of computers
in education that I recently encountered while talking with two of my
friends. The first said his philosophy of education is that teaching
and learning are personal, human things. He believes that the heart of
teaching and learning is the face-to-face interaction among students
and teachers. Distance education (online education via computer) has
inherent weaknesses because a computer is not a human being.
The second friend said that computers are an extension to the human
brain—a tool designed to supplement and extend the capabilities of a
human brain. Much in the way that we integrate into our curriculum and
daily lives the tools that aid our physical capabilities, we need to
also integrate into our curriculum and daily lives the tools that aid
our cognitive capabilities.
I believe there is considerable merit in both of these views. What are
your own thoughts, and how have they evolved over time? This is a key
question. Presumably, many of your actions and deeds are based on your
personal philosophy. As the world changes, does your personal
philosophy evolve? Are you flexible in your thoughts and deeds? Or you
“stuck in a rut”?
Over the years, I have listened to many educators express their own
philosophy of computers in education by saying, “Computers are here to
stay”. I cringe when I hear that statement, because it typically is
followed by a quite shallow statement of the person’s insights into the
many possible and effective applications of computers in education.
For such people, I wonder about their philosophy of education in other
areas of study. Have you ever heard a person say, “My philosophy of
mathematics in education is that mathematics is here to stay”? How
about other statements such as “reading and writing are here to stay,
or history is here to stay”?
Surely, we can expect more than that from education professionals! I
hope you agree with me that such superficial statements are not
particularly useful in guiding a teacher in performing everyday tasks
of curriculum development, teaching, and assessment, in addition to
interacting with students, parents, and colleagues, and so on.
I have for many years argued that ICT has the potential to greatly
improve our educational systems. Not only are computers here to stay,
they will eventually revolutionize both the content and the processes
of education. The remainder of this newsletter is designed to help all
educators (including parents, teachers, school administrators, and
teachers of teachers) understand that they need to develop a
forward-looking philosophy of ICT in education that is designed to
prepare today’s students for their futures.
Keep in mind the fact that children tend to build their own
philosophies from those of the adults they interact with. One
characteristic of a good (human) teacher or parent is being a good
(human) role model. Your Beliefs
I am an old timer in the field of Computers in
Education, having spent more than 50 years working in this discipline
(Moursund, 2002; Moursund, 2016a). Over these years, I have gradually
developed a personal philosophy that helps to guide me in my teaching,
writing, consulting, and presentations. I want to share some of my ICT
ideas and philosophy with you, and I strongly encourage you to
examine/develop your own personal philosophy of computers in education.
You undoubtedly have beliefs about education based on your upbringing, education, and life experiences. Here are some of mine:
A good education is an appropriate balance between developing
“people-oriented” knowledge and skills, and learning to make effective
use of the tools people have developed to augment and increase our
physical and cognitive capabilities. We solve problems and accomplish
tasks through using a combination of the capabilities of people and the
capabilities of the tools that people have developed.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and other
technology-based change agents can be used to make major improvements
in the world’s (and our country’s) educational systems.
All of the our world’s children deserve the opportunity to gain a
high-quality education that includes learning to make effective use of
routine access to the communication facilities and knowledge base
provided by the Internet and Web.
Artificial Intelligence (including computerized robots and other
tools) is a very powerful change agent. A modern education helps to
prepare students for a life in which computerized tools perform or help
to perform more and more of the jobs that human workers are currently
performing. They will also play an increased role in our avocations and
other aspects of our everyday lives.
I can easily expand my list of education-related beliefs. Over the
years, in my professional career I have developed habits of mind that
incorporate these beliefs. I hope that you will make your own list of
education-related beliefs, giving special attention to roles of ICT in
education. As you develop and come to understand the ramifications of
your list, I hope that you will build your beliefs into a philosophy of
education that serves both yourself and the students you help to
educate. Final Remarks
A person’s life is shaped by both nature (one’s genes) and nurture
(informal and formal education; life experiences). For a newborn, most
life experiences are new—they present opportunities to learn new
things. Soon, however, an infant develops a knowledge and experience
base, and this continues to grow throughout a lifetime. While a child’s
perceived world continues to change from day to day, gradually there is
less “new” and more “same o’, same o’”.
As most adults age, there is a gradual decrease in ability and/or
desire and willingness to cope with change. Thus, for example, we see
children mastering the learning of a second or third natural language,
and learning to make relatively sophisticated use of new computer
technologies, while many adults struggle in such endeavors.
A forward-looking educational system helps a student to learn and to
develop habits of mind that will support lifelong learning. These
habits of mind need to include a personal philosophy of lifelong
learning to meet one’s changing personal needs as one becomes a
responsible, contributing adult in our changing world.
Parents, guardians, and teachers serve as role models for children. I
strongly encourage you to examine your personal philosophies of dealing
with change and the role model you are setting for children and others.
At the end of each IAE Newsletter
there is a Comments section that allows readers to share their ideas
with other people. How well do you know and understand your own
philosophy of education? As a teacher (remember, we are all lifelong
teachers and lifelong learners) what do you do to help others to
develop a philosophy of education and habits of mind that will best
serve them and our world? References and Resources
Moursund is an Emeritus Professor of Education at the University
of Oregon, and co-editor of the IAE
His professional career includes founding the International Society for
Technology in Education (ISTE) in 1979, serving as ISTE’s executive
officer for 19 years, and establishing ISTE’s flagship publication, Learning and Leading with Technology.
He was the major professor or co-major professor for 82 doctoral
students. He has presented hundreds of professional talks and
workshops. He has authored or coauthored more than 60 academic books
and hundreds of articles. Many of these books are available free
online. See http://iaepedia.org/David_Moursund_Books. In 2007,
Moursund founded Information Age Education (IAE). IAE provides free
online educational materials via its IAE-pedia,
IAE Newsletter, IAE Blog, and books. See http://iaepedia.org/Main_Page#IAE_in_a_Nutshell.
We are using the Disqus commenting system to facilitate comments and
discussions pertaining to this newsletter. To use Disqus, please
click the Login link below and sign in.
If you have
questions about how to use Disqus, please refer to this help