Developing a Critical Dialog for Educational Technology: Understanding the Nature of Technology and the Legacy of Scientific Management in Our Schools
Frizelle, Thomas Kenneth
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This dissertation examines the legacy of scientific management and the dominance of one-dimensional thinking in the field of educational technology. Through this analysis, I demonstrate that the ways practitioners and policymakers frame educational technology, assess its effectiveness, and make judgments about its potential, often exclude essential reference points such as the origins of the field, the nature of technology and alternative critical frameworks. In order to properly evaluate educational technology, it is necessary to unpack and explore the historical, moral, and political motives that frame current thinking in the field. To that end, the ideas of the father of scientific management, Fredrick W. Taylor, and critical theorist, Herbert Marcuse, were examined around five themes: truth, human nature, relationship to society, nature of technology, and the aims of education. These themes were then applied to a textual analysis of the National Educational Technology Plans from 1996 through 2010 to demonstrate the prevalence of techno-rational language in recent national educational technology policy. The conclusion identifies ways for policymakers and practitioners to recognize and critically engage with techno-rational thought and the nature of technology in the field of educational technology.
- Education - Seattle 
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