Technology in Education: Looking toward 2020

By Raymond S. Nickerson; Philip P. Zodhiates | Go to book overview

1 Technology in Education in 2020: Thinking About the Not-Distant Future1
RAYMOND S. NICKERSON BNN Laboratories Inc.The year 2020 was picked as the focal year for the Educational Technology Center panel on the future role of technology in education not simply because of its alliterative usefulness for purposes of constructing titles or themes, but because 35 years is about as far into the future as we dare try to look. Considering how technology has moved since the arrival of the digital computer about 35 years ago, it would seem foolhardy to attempt to look in any detail at what the world will be like much beyond that date. Even on that time scale there is little reason to believe that we can predict much with very great accuracy. Perhaps we can, however, develop some plausible scenarios. And to attempt to do at least that much is imperative, if we would hope to impact intelligently the course the future takes. The purpose of this paper is to propose a perspective for thinking about the future, not so much with the intent of predicting it as with that of helping to shape it.First some assumptions:
There are many possible futures. If this were not true, there would be little point in this type of exercise.
Not all possible futures are equally probable.
Not all possible futures are equally desirable.
What is most desirable among the possibilities is not necessarily most probable in the absence of some concerted effort to make it so.
____________________
1
Background paper for Educational Technology Center (Harvard) Panel on Technology in Education in 2020, for meeting Oct. 15-17, 1986.

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