Paper 1: Postman, The End of Education

ET 690 Educational Technology Seminar

Write a brief paper to answer the following questions. The paper should be typed and double-spaced and conform to basic rules of APA style. Be sure that the paper is double-spaced, with 1 inch margins, in a 12 point font, and with numbered pages. Whie the specific page guidelines within questions 1 and 2 are approximate, under no circumstances should the entire paper be fewer than 5 pages or greater than 10 pages (not including a separate page for a title or an optional page for references). Your answers should reflect a thorough understanding of the text as well as deep and serious thought. This paper relates to Educational Technology Program Key Concept 9 Critical Perspectives.

On pages 192-193, Postman says:

  1. All technological change is a Faustian bargain. For every advantage a new technology offers, there is always a corresponding disadvantage.
  2. The advantages and disadvantages of new technologies are never distributed evenly among the population. This means that every new technology benefits some and harms others.
  3. Embedded in every technology there is a powerful idea, sometimes two or three powerful ideas. Like language itself, a technology predisposes us to favor and value certain perspectives and accomplishments and to subordinate others. Every technology has a philosophy, which is given expression in how the technology makes people use their minds, in what it makes us do with our bodies, in how it codifies the world, in which of our senses it amplifies, in which of our emotional and intellectual tendencies it disregards.
  4. A new technology usually makes war against an old technology. It competes with it for time, attention, money, prestige, and a "worldview."
  5. Technological change is not additive; it is ecological. A new technology does not merely add something; it changes everything.
  6. Because of the symbolic forms in which information is encoded, different technologies have different intellectual and emotional biases.
  7. Because of the accessibility and speed of their information, different technologies have different political biases.
  8. Because of their physical form, different technologies have different sensory biases.
  9. Because of the conditions in which we attend to them, different technologies have different social biases.
  10. Because of their technical and economic structure, different technologies have different content biases.
Discuss this quote in two parts:

1. In approximately 1 page, what does this quote mean? Keep in mind that there are 10 parts to this quote, and with only 1 page, you are not going to focus on the details but rather summarize this quote in a way that you could use as a framework for understanding technology.

2. In approximately 1 page, expand on your answer to question 1 to think about how this can be a framework for understanding technology in education.

3. With the remaining pages of your paper, think about the framework that you (and Postman) developed in questions 1 and 2 and apply this to one or two technologies that might be found in schools now or in the near future.

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This page was prepared by Dr. David M. Marcovitz.

Last Updated: August 4, 2016