This website was created as an introduction to a network of websites that question the value of high-technology in education. While this is a fundamental issue there is surprisingly relatively few articles that are based upun critical analysis of the role of high-technology in education. I have worked in the Education and Technology fields for about 40 years and specifically in Education Technology since 1976. After all this time I still find myself asking "Is the role of high-technology in learning significant?"
I believe, based upon my personal experiences in the field, at many levels of education, that it is certainly time to question the high levels of popular rhetoric and false information associated with the many myths of technology in education. The main objective is to help stimulate some serious critical thinking and analysis of the role of high-technology in the learning process. I also hope to stimulate healthy discussion about 'Education Best Practices and Priorities'and 'Recent Technology Developments'.
Through our network of websites we hope to develop 'Laboratories for Education Technology Issues' and hopefully through our endeavors (collectively) we can provide some realistic and practical information for practitioners in the field. In this section the focus is upon practice, and new perspectives and inputs are most welcome. We are particularly looking for honest observations and new ideas from the field.
Join our Education Laboratory
Much of the
initial content for these websites was and is still based upon our work and research into education issues in
Australia and Indonesia. However, I believe that
the information is relevant generally, and
especially for other developing countries. We have
been working mainly in the areas of school
development and education technology. We use
the example of the language laboratory below to
raise some important technology issues.
Some of our recent work has caused us to seriously
question the role and effectiveness of education
technology. Is education technology
important, how can we know?.
This question has actually
bothered us since our initial research into Language Laboratories
at the Ministry of Education, Indonesia in 1998.
Despite rigorous searching, we only managed to
find relatively little evidence of 'measured
benefits' for students from using the
technology, and this raised a question that has
intrigued us ever since, why wasn't there more data
Language laboratories have been
in existence since about 1919 (Ralph Waltz) and
widely utilized in Western countries since about
1946 (Hocking, 1967), and many companies are still
marketing language laboratories today (2008). Why
does it appear that little scientific ("measured") research has been
carried out into their effectiveness. Most of the
"evidence" that we did manage to find on the
Internet back in 1998 was rhetorical, and the
source of much of this evidence was from
manufacturers, technologists and technology
departments in universities or other
However, as an
education technologist working closely with
professional language teachers since 1977, it
become evident that the ability of many teachers
to maximize the technology was a serious issue.
From our studies into applications of the language
laboratory we found that with groups of more than
20 students the role of the teacher in the
learning process is greatly diminished and
'teacher monitoring' becomes relatively
ineffective. This raised the question of its
suitability for use in most public primary and
from native-speaker teachers in a survey in
Jakarta at a high-profile technology-based
institution in 1986 indicated that many EFL
teachers did not believe that the language
laboratory was an effective use of their students'
class time. Are they perhaps more useful
for non native-speaker teachers?
Perhaps the language laboratory is more
suitable for use as a Self-Access Facility.
During lunch-breaks and free lab-times at the
University of Queensland during my period there
(1988-1993) the labs were also utilized in this
way. However, this raises the question, why
have a lab at all, why not just provide individual
After 89 years the
benefits (or otherwise) relating to use of
language laboratories are still open for
discussion. Have language laboratories helped
generations of students, do we know? How can we
know if our modern education technologies are
really effective without more scientific
'measurement' of the benefits?
question that needs to be asked is
"Do we want to know?" Do
institutions that have committed hundreds of
thousands of dollars for education technology
really want to evaluate their technologies, and
perhaps discover that they have made a
mistake? Education is a very competitive
"business", and while I deplore the concept of
education being a business, it is. Education is one
of world's biggest industries, and continual
growth is virtually guaranteed. Like any business,
competitiveness is a key issue. How can
institutions be seen to have a competitive edge?
Is education technology perhaps viewed as
'marketing leverage' by some institutions, or as
an opportunity for 'career advancement' by some
teachers and academics?
personal experience is that sometimes just
questioning the benefits of technology in
education is viewed in the same light as
questioning whether the world is flat.
Why, and what are the implications for
educators who are interested in evaluating
We are based
in Jakarta, Indonesia and we are continually
attempting to answer questions about language
laboratories, computer laboratories, e-Learning,
utilizing the Internet for learning and programs
for use with the technologies.
very pro-technology, however, we are also
striving to establish that the technologies are
benefiting our students, especially in regions
where budgets are limited or based upon
international loans. The ceaseless
questioning, evaluation, analysis and critique of
education technologies are crucial good practices
that benefit everybody.
result of some recent analysis of the main factors
contributing to quality education (especially for
developing countries), the role and importance of
education technology has become even more of a
concern over recent months. This is because of the
exceptionally high levels of hype about the
benefits of technology in education which appear
to be dominating education decision making, perhaps at
the cost of more basic issues that are
proven to enhance the quality of education. One of
my more recent concerns is:
PCs Saving Time?
"We need to be relentless in
measuring and assessing the impact that technology
has on education and on academic achievement.
We need evidence that
teaching and learning are improved as the result
of technology." (Ref: North Central Regional
Are we "relentless in measuring and
assessing the impact"
of new technologies?
If not, why
Computers and the Internet have
for some time been accepted as essential tools for
both communication and business in Indonesia.
However, now, because Indonesia is in the process
of educational reform they have become an even
more important educational issue especially for
2008 Teachers" (see survey).
This is not a
commercial site and we invite all stores,
businesses and companies dealing in; computers,
audio-visual equipment, learning laboratories,
Internet Service Providers (Indonesia), Internet
accessories, etc. to send information about their
this form so that they can be promoted to
interested parties in the Indonesian education
sector. With School Based Management (SBM) schools
are now encouraged to buy locally so we would like
information from all regions in Indonesia.
Links to useful technology
homepages and personal written contributions
(papers) can also be e-mailed to us for inclusion
on this site.
We are very interested in new and
innovative applications of technology to learning
and teaching equipment (audio-visual aids). So, if
you are in possession of any information that you
would like to pass on please
leave a message here.
& Technology Consultant: