DAVID K. COHEN Michigan State University
It is plain from the newspapers and trade journals that the new technology is the educational phenomenon of the moment. American schools always seem to have at least one such animal in residence, and microcomputers may retain this favored position for some time. But it also seems likely that this new technology will not work precisely as its sponsors hope: Perhaps it will not be adopted as widely as they wish--or more quickly, or widely, than anticipated. In addition, many teachers will not use it in the prescribed doses. Evaluations, of course, will show that the new technology is "working" for some schools and students, but "not working" for many others. Educators and policymakers will want to know why. Researchers will be invited to investigate and explain.
Readers with an acute attack of deja vu may stop here, feeling that they have been on this roller coaster before. But that is one point of this chapter: Barring any unexpected and amazing developments, this new educational technology will become embroiled in problems of adoption and use. We may be able to learn something about these problems from a consideration of similar problems in the past--the problems that Americans are now in the process of forgetting. New technology, after all, is an old educational enchantment. One part of the story begins late in the 19th century, when the rise of a new industrial technology excited imaginations everywhere. Educators thought that new methods of production already had increased what managers, citizens, and even ordinary workers needed to know, and they envisioned much greater