Essays on technolgy, culture, and education

by Robbie McClintock

On technology and education

This section includes reflections on how communications technologies interact with educational and cultural practice in historical experience. I wrote most of them during the time I was directing the Institute for Learning Lechnologies and was heavily engaged in developing funding applications for projects integrating information technologies into educational activities. I based my sense of what could and should be done with information technology in education primarily on a historical interpretation of how changes in communications practices interact with educational and cultural efforts. In my view, educators need to pay creative attention to changes, both for better and for worse, in the spectrum of possibility arising as the cultural infrastructure changes. These unfold on a timescale of decades, even centuries, in ways that we can steer, within limits. To do so, we need to develop a sense of historical balance, a feel for where the processes of change are leading and a knack for shifting their course, within the boundaries of real constraint.

Between 1984 and 2000 or so, I was heavily engaged in such considerations, both reflectively and actively. Between 2000 and 2002, I decided the active part of that engagement made little sense, and I decided to concentrate on educational and cultural criticism and speculation. Younger leaders need to take up responsibility for actively shaping practice, for the timescale of such change is stretching out and the constraints on innovation, intellectual and professional, have become very confining. I now think it is much the most productive course to act as a critic trying to undermine the entrenched orthodoxies of pedagogical instumentalism. Change in the underlying infrastructure of communication and knowledge production will continue while the cominant orthodozies, unable to recognize what is taking place, will persist in seeming dominance. Eventually the disjunction between reality and orthodoxy will become too great and a new system will break forth from the chrysalis of change.

The first grouping of essays, which includes two short books published online in 1992 and 1999 to very small audiences, as well as several ambitious project proposals, show the development of my views on the historical juncture of information technology and cultural potentialities. The second group rounds that picture out with other, briefer reflections. Separating the two groups are links to two PDF files pertaining to two projects—the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning, a successful endeavor under the leadership of Frank Moretti, and a very ambitious project, "Smart Cities, New York," which fluttered and failed as an effort to transform New York City's public schools. In all, the technology considerations are an extended effort to think speculatively and practically about what might be accomplished through the creative use of a changing information infrastructure.

1966a
Machines and Vitalists: Reflections on the Ideology of Cybernetics — 6000 words
1986a
Into the Starting Gate — 13100 words
1991a
The Cumulative Curriculum — 19400 words
1992
Power and Pedagogy: Transforming Education through Information Technology — 48700 words
1995b
Eiffel Project — 14900 words
1999
The Educators Manifesto: On the Social Construction of Digital Learning Communities — 46700 words
1999a
Educating America for the 21st Century — 9350 words
2000a
Cities, Youth, and Technology — 3100 words
2002b
Education and the New Science of Networks — 4650 words
2002e
Relevance and Scale: Challenges to the Institute for Learning Technologies — 4400 words
2009a
Rob Prepares a Tome and a Talk for Toronto — 18550 words

1970a
Book note on Science and the Federal Patron — 250 words
1972a
The Humanization of Science — 2800 words
1984a
On the Priestly and the Prophetic in Technical Innovation — 2250 words
1984b
Memorandum to P. Michael Timpane, Dean — 3250 words
1984c
Liberal Learning — 1400 words
1984d
Two Projects — 2000 words
1986b
Peabody: A Contemporary Communication Curriculum — 4000 words
1987a
Beyond the Book in Education — 3100 words
1988a
Marking the Second Frontier — 3400 words
1988b
CAL: The Civic Agenda and Logotechnics — 3800 words
1989a
Kant in the Culture Factory — 7000 words
1994a
The Murdoch Center for Advanced Media in Education at Columbia University — 2400 words
1995a
An Interpretation Construction Approach to Constructivist Design — 2800 words
1997a
Educating for the 21st Century — 8250 words
1997b
A look ahead at the future of ICT in education—the American experience — 8300 words
1998a
The Study Place: Developing on-line engagements with cultural experience — 4900 words
1998b
New Media Center for Teaching and Learning at Columbia University — 3100 words
1999b
Technological Change and the Pedagogical Problem — 5600 words
1999c
Graduate Studies in Educational Informatics — 700 words
2000b
The Internet and Education — 5900 words
2000c
The University and the School — 1200 words
2000d
Experience and Innovation: Reflections on emerging practice with new media in education — 4000 words
2002a
Social History through Media History — 4500 words
2010a
Oral History of Teachers College Interview — 13100 words