WARREN BRYAN MARTIN
Three assumptions seem to me to run through the theme of this forum on "Teaching and Technology." All of them have both a positive and a cautionary tone.
The first assumption is that changes in degree have a way of becoming changes in kind. The novelist John Barth makes this point dramatically: "The day grows darker and darker and then it is night. Water grows colder and colder and then it is ice. A man grows older and older and then he is dead. Changes in degree become changes in kind."
When science and technology produced the atom bomb and later the hydrogen bomb, we moved not just from one form of weaponry to another, as when gunpowder superseded bows and arrows and spears. We moved from the confrontation of rival armies in the field to the threat of nuclear weapons affecting whole populations, and beyond to the possibility through nuclear war of ending civilization as we've known it. The level of peril has been heightened to the extent that, regarding warfare, changes in degree have greatly increased the prospect of changes in kind.
Surely it's safe to say that certain technologies of this technological society have achieved an importance all out of proportion to their cost or size, and, that this is the case with computer technology and telecommunications. We are not dealing with changes equivalent to the change from an ice box to a
Maitin is Senior Fellow, at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
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Publication information: Book title: Teaching and Technology:The Impact of Unlimited Information Access on Classroom Teaching: Proceedings of a National Forum at Earlham College. Contributors: Evan Ira Farber - Author, Forum on Teaching and Technology - OrganizationName. Publisher: Pierian Press. Place of publication: Ann Arbor, MI. Publication year: 1991. Page number: 125.
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