Graduate Studies in Educational Informatics
by Robbie McClintock
The introductory statement about the programs in Communication, Computing, and Technology in Education, 1999.
Length: 700 words
Communication, Computing, and Technology in Education provides a cluster of degree programs for students who seek to develop leadership capacities in the uses of information and communication technologies in education. It serves students, staff, and faculty members who share a commitment as educators to use digital technologies to improve education at all levels. Work through CCTE should move simultaneously towards two poles of understanding and practice -- towards comprehending the cultural and historical implications of new technologies for education and life, and towards purposefully selecting and shaping the uses of new media in educational work at all levels.
CCTE's programs deal with the many ways in which material culture changes and shapes educational practice at all its levels. Here are some assumptions about the long-run effects that innovations in information and communications technologies may be having on education and culture. Work through CCTE should lead faculty and students to study, criticize, develop, and extend propositions such as these.
- When changes in information and communications technologies transform the ways people create, disseminate, and apply knowledge, deep changes in educational practices occur.
- Educational institutions, including schools of education, will undergo prolonged change and significant transformation, occasioned by changes in the means and the media of intellectual production.
- As digital information and communications technologies develop, the separation of the elementary and secondary schools and the institutions of higher education into two, largely distinct, educational cultures will markedly diminish.
- With the emerging intellectual conditions, activities contributing to the creation of knowledge will increase in relative value and those devoted solely to its dissemination will decrease.
- Campuses will remain important foci of intellectual activity while participation in them will become more flexible via networks supporting asynchronous, distributed study and teaching.
- Specialists in education will need to work closely with scholars, scientists, and professionals to embed powerful learning experiences in the digital means for advancing knowledge.
- Increasingly, educators will de-emphasize imparting a static stock of information and ideas and will instead seek to enable all people to contribute to the advancement of knowledge.
- Demand for highly skilled educators will increase and preparing them will largely be a field-based engagement in situations where students interact with new knowledge resources.
- Schools and other educational institutions will increase in public importance and the educating professions will increasingly become high-tech and high-prestige professions.
- Changes in information and communications technologies will resuscitate the progressive movement in education, enabling it to be both broadly egalitarian and intellectually rigorous.
Communication, Computing, and Technology in Education aims to prepare students to deal with both the present and future implications of new media, and to play a constructive role in shaping the educational response to innovations in information and communications technologies. Although these concerns are common to its three programs, each has distinctive nuances with respect to methods and purpose:
- Communication and Education relies primarily on social science inquiry to understand, interpret, and shape how information and communications technologies influence culture and education;
- Computing and Education works with computer information systems to facilitate the effective extension of digital technologies into educational practice;
- Instructional Technology and Media concentrates on the creation and application of innovative technologies, guided primarily by research in pedagogy and cognitive science, in order to make new media work as powerful tools for study and teaching.
Across the three programs, students and faculty members all engage in research, development, theory, and application. All three programs put a high priority on group work, on field work and internships, and on planning, implementing, and completing innovative projects. Schools, computer companies, businesses, and other agencies are normally partners in projects, providing environments, materials, personnel, or opportunities for carrying them out. The Institute for Learning Technologies (www.ilt.columbia.edu), the Center for Technology and School Change (www.tc.columbia.edu/~academic/ctsc/), and the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (www.ccnmtl.columbia.edu) work closely with CCTE faculty members and students and provide a wide range of internship and fieldwork opportunities.