WILLIAM H. BOSSERT Harvard University
Those whose attention we seek in our attempts to further the applications of technology in improving education have every right to be suspicious of us. Throughout the history of computer-aided instruction, or educational technology as we now call it to wash ourselves of past sins, they have been sold ideas without products, products without curricula to which they may be applied, and curricula developed without regard for the institutional constraints of an overall educational policy. We have regularly put the cart before the horse by developing technology first and then searching for educational problems that might be relevant to the advance. In this chapter I identify some problems with current educational techniques and point out how they might be solved in a high-technology educational environment achievable by 2020. Of course, in assuming a technologic environment I am also guilty of "putting the cart before the horse," but I hope in the course of the presentation those who buy the cart might gain some confidence that something will be there to pull it.
Current educational techniques do not manage the relationships between the classroom and the external intellectual environment and between students on an intellectual basis within the classroom very well. Promoting these relationships is important; the resources of a classroom have always been and will always be limited, relative to those of the larger environment that include museums, libraries, news media, and the summed family experiences of a student group. There is also the simple motivational message that what goes on in the classroom is based on and prepares one for the outside world. Improv