TO: Prof. Jason W. Ellis
FROM: Jing Sheng Zhao
SUBJECT: 500-Word summary of Webster’s “Philosophy of Technology Assumptions in Educational Technology Leadership”
Mark David Webster talked about how the philosophy of technology assumptions has impact on technology leader’s decisions on technology, and he argued it with a quality research. Philosophy of technology is a branch of philosophy that involves examining the underlying assumptions of how technologies impact and transform human society in ways that are philosophically relevant (Kaplan, 2009). The research involved 31 participants from Virginia, there are 15 technology directors, and the others are instructional technology specialists.
Participants will be asked some related questions which constructed by a written questionnaire. The purpose of this study was to know what the K-12 technology leaders think of technology in education, and there are three research questions guided which the author focus on. First, Webster wanted to know about was how are the participants view the technology which we are currently using. Result showed three different views from the participants, one is Technology is a tool, they can control it. Another one is Technological change is inevitable, technology is unstoppable. And the last one is Technological optimism, they had positive view on using technology. Also, one category that frequently pointed out by most of the participants was Technology raises questions of human values, which author stated technology was value laden.
The next question Webster focus on was how are participants used the technology, and their opinions about it. Webster pointed out some participant’s ideas, and there were vary. One participant thought we should keep up the technology, and he addressed that we use technology because in order to achieve some objectives, technology is required, he also thought technology can prepare the student to get ahead. Another participant viewed it should consider the reason to use technology, which means we should drive technology rather than technology drive us, he said he wasn’t like technology, but if he uses it, he needs to see good reasons for it. Also, one participant pointed out that we should not pursue technology just because the sake of technology.
As Technology Specialist 8 stated that not all the technology is good, and we can’t stop it growing, but we have to use it properly. However, some participants found out they felt so many stress by keeping up the technology. One participant mentioned the working condition he was in, he said it’s hard to keep up with the technology with the limited resource, but if he don’t, he will have left behind. In another hand, Technology Director 7 stated he will consider ethic while he made the technology decision, he said he has to responsible for it since he will deal with the elementary level. The third points author wanted to know was what technology may change in leader’s thinking or decision making. Author points out some participant’s view, it stated that since technology is inevitable, we have to use it and keep pace with the change of technology. And they gave an example on the rise of using eBook instead of paper textbooks, it’s to emphasized the technological imperative.
This article focuses on presenting the implications of the study for educational technology, while providing only a summary of the grounded theory methods used, as a full treatment of the research methods was previously published (Webster, 2016). In the end, the author concluded that philosophy of technology assumptions did change decision while education leader’s approaches to technology, and when they question about it, they are most likely can make a better decision whether or not to use technology within different situations.
Webster, M. D. (2017). Philosophy of Technology Assumptions in Educational Technology Leadership. Educational Technology & Society, 20 (1), 25–36.