This second edition of Multiple Intelligences and Instructional Technology offers additional insights into the relationship between human intelligence, technology, and effective instruction. The title and subject matter derive, of course, from Dr. Howard Gardner's well-known theory of multiple intelligences (MI), first advanced more than 20 years ago and considerably elaborated and modified by Gardner and other researchers in the years since. Gardner's theory holds that each of the separate intelligences is a viable, distinct pathway to learning. They are [ways of knowing] that can operate independently and yet act in concert with even greater power. These intelligences are not to be confused with talents, gifts, aptitudes, or learning styles. Talents, gifts, and aptitudes connote abilities that are above and beyond the realm of simple human understanding, such as the ability to play a musical instrument well or set new records in athletic competitions. Learning styles, meanwhile, are fixed modes of understanding that a learner uses regardless of the instructional context. Intelligences are more than either of these. They are legitimate conduits of cognition that can be flexibly applied across the curriculum in varied contexts by all learners.
Although we each have all the intelligences, they are distributed uniquely in every one of us. Because of this, there is a tendency to want to label learners by specific intelligences. Gardner is adamantly opposed to this. He sees his theory as a way to empower learners, not to diagnose deficits and prescribe remediation. Therefore, we should avoid discussing [types] of learners and any suggestion that there are surefire methods of instruction or implements of technology that accommodate specific learner strengths. Analyzing an existing lesson plan or unit by intelligences is one thing, but once that analysis is done, we need to rebuild the instruction holistically and replace it in its curricular context before delivering it to students.
The teachers I meet around the country are generally very excited about the curricular possibilities of MI theory and instructional technology—and they are also full of questions. Many indicate that they are already familiar with the theory and are ready to learn ways to implement it systematically in the classroom. The aim of this book is to help teachers dig deeper and realize the implications of Gardner's theory for diversifying their teaching practices in the classroom. There remains a huge void between Gardner's vision and its successful implementation in instruction. It is my hope that this second edition will continue to help bridge this gap by offering concrete strategies for using MI theory and technology in the classroom. I hope you will be empowered by the ideas presented herein, and that you will in turn empower your students as lifelong learners!
Walter McKenzie January 2005 . . .