The Evolution of Educational Technology
The Representative Selection of Quotations Made by Well-Known Personalities to Map History and Anticipate the Future of The Branch.
Collected by Borivoj Brdicka, Charles University Prague Faculty of Education, Czech Republic

educo - to lead out, march out, draw out, raise, bring up, educate

Latin Dictionary University of Washington, Latin Dictionary George Mason University

The former Latin philosophers (Socrates, Platon) imagined education as leading the prisoner out from the dark cave to the light of knowledge.

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest- a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and of a foundation for inner security.

Albert Einstein (famous scientist), N.Y. Post, November 28, 1972

It takes a whole village to raise a child.

African adage

Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

T.S. Eliot (famous American poet): Choruses from "The Rock", 1934

The motion picture is destined to revolutionize our educational system and . . . in a few years it will supplant largely, if not entirely, the use of textbooks.

Thomas Alva Edison (famous inventor), 1922

The time may come when a portable radio receiver will be as common in the classroom as is the blackboard.

William Levenson (the director of the Cleveland public schools' radio station), 1945

The concepts of "freedom" and "dignity" are no longer useful in modern society. Man is not truly free to choose, because what a person will do in a given situation depends almost entirely on what has happened to him in the past. We must learn to control behavior systematically to produce people who are good and right-minded. We should expand this controlling to all of life.

Burrhus Frederic Skinner (psychologist): Beyond Freedom and Dignity, 1971

If the environment, learning or otherwise, could be controlled to provide the proper stimulus, then the proper response can be elicited.

John Broadus Watson (philosopher): Behavior, 1914

The media do not contribute anything to learning as a result of their intrinsic properties.

. . .

The success of educational technologies is judged of how well they imitated what good teachers do.

R. E. Clark: Confounding in educational computing research, Journal of Educational Computing Research, 1985

BASIC is only one programming language which is dedicated to common computers' users and not for programmers-specialists.

Zdenek Jedlicka (architect - owner of microcomputer): Basic for Beginners - basic book for Czech schools, 1985

Principe of programming in machine code is in putting the right sequence of instructions to the right places into the internal memory of computer.

Miroslav Feil (Department of Physics Education, Faculty of Matematics and Physics, Charles Univerisy, Prague): Machine Code for Microcomputer IQ 151 - basic book for Czech schools, 1986

Cybernetic Pedagogy uses two kinds of solving the problems of educational process. Firstly it is the cybernetics modeling of learning and teaching with appropriate didactic technology. Secondly it is the cybernetics modeling of student's way of thinking, which is dedicated to help teacher to choose the right method of presentation and fixation of new information.

Ludek Kouba (Department of Didactic Technology, Faculty of Education, Charles University, Prague): About Media Pedagogy, 1995


Bits don't know the borders.
. . .
Move bits, not atoms.

Nicholas Negroponte (The head of Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology): Being Digital, 1995

My number one priority for the next four years, is to ensure that all Americans have the best education in the world. . . . Let's work together to meet these three goals: Every 8-year-old must be able to read; every 12-year-old must be able to log on to the Internet; every 18-year-old must be able to go to college, and every adult American must be able to keep on learning for a lifetime.

Bill Clinton, 1996

It is my very strong belief that free connections to the NII (National Information Infrastructure) may not be enough. If we want young people to actively use the technology of the future so it becomes second nature to them, then we must go a step further and provide . . . free usage of the telecommunications lines that will connect school children and young people to new sources of knowledge. In short, I believe that connecting up our schools and providing free usage, or usage that at least is as inexpensive as possible, is the right way to go.

Richard Riley (U.S. Secretary of Education), 1994

Hire teachers who are already trained and prepared for the 21st century. This will send a message to the teacher training institutions. Also, change the teacher salary incentives, requiring teachers to take a certain amount of technology training.

Linda Roberts (Director of Ed. Technology, US Department of Education), 1996

The primary reason technology has failed to live up to its promise (of the 1980s) lies in the fact that it has been viewed as an answer to the wrong question. Decisions about technology purchases and uses are typically driven by the question of how to improve the effectiveness of what schools are already doing -- not how to transform what schools do.

Jane L. David (Director of the Bay Area Research Group, Palo Alto, California, Apple consultant): The Unfulfilled Promise of the 1980s, 1994

The history of learning is an adventure in overcoming our errors. There is no sin in being wrong. The sin is in our unwillingness to examine our own beliefs, and in believing that our authorities cannot be wrong.

Neil Postman (professor, University of New York): The End of Education, 1995

As ridiculously shortsighted as this sounds, it accurately reflects how technologically blind the past decade's costly and futile education 'reform' movement will appear to future historians. For a technological revolution is sweeping through the U.S. and world economies that is totally transforming the social role of teaching and learning. . . . In its aftermath, most of what now passes for education 'reform' will appear as useful to economic security in the 1990s as the Maginot Line was to military security in the 1940s.

Lewis J. Perelman (founder and president of Kanbrain): School's Out, Avon Books, 1992

At its best, schooling can be about how to make a life, which is quite different from how to make a living.

Neil Postman (professor, University of New York): The End of Education, 1995

In play it is as though the child were trying to jump above the head of his normal behavior.

Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky: Thought and language, 1933

Learning can be a great deal of fun - but it's a different meaning of fun . . . its entirely different from what we normally mean by fun in association with entertainment.

Neil Postman (professor, University of New York): Prelude to Vegas (interview), Channel Zero, 1996

Students are better able to retain learning experiences that involve sounds, pictures and interactive opportunities. . . . People retain about 10 percent of what they read, half of what they see and fully 90 per cent of information that is gleaned through interactive participation. "You can employ people to do all that complicated interactive stuff, but it's much cleaner and cheaper to let technology do it for you."

Brenda Pfaus (teacher, specialist in technology-assisted learning, Ottawa), 1996

It is no coincidence that kids show an affinity for multimedia technology. The reason: its visual, playful way of presenting information imitates the preschool world of learning. Babies learn to talk without curriculum or formal lessons. Social behavior is picked up through other than classroom instruction. With their emphasis on action and interaction, computers reclaim some of the fun that is inherent in early learning.

Seymour Papert (professor M.I.T., Logo author): The Children's Machine, 1993

Today's multimedia systems are capable of doing things that teachers cannot do efficiently or well. The criterion by which we judge the success of instructional technology is now how well the system either adds to what the teacher does not do, or how well it supports new strategies to help students learn. . . . As multimedia improve their ability to faithfully represent the world, knowledge application and the development of wisdom will also improve.

William Winn (Educational Technology Professor, University of Washington): Learning in Interactive and Immersive Environments, 1995

I have never let schooling interfere with my education.

Mark Twain (writer), 1910

I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.

Winston Churchill (politician)

There won't be schools in the future. I think that the computer will blow up the school.

Seymour Papert (professor M.I.T., Logo author), 1984

A World Encyclopaedia no longer presents itself to a modern imagination as a row of volumes printed and published once for all, but as a sort of mental clearing house for the mind, a depot where knowledge and ideas are received, sorted, summarized, digested, clarified and compared. It would be in continual correspondence with every university, every research institution, every competent discussion, every survey, every statistical bureau in the world. It would develop a directorate and a staff of men of its own type, specialized editors and summarists. They would be very important and distinguished men in the new world. This Encyclopaedic organization need not be concentrated now in one place; it might have the form of a network.

Herbert George Wells (writer): World Brain, 1938

The human(mind) . . . operates by association. With one item in its grasp, it snaps instantly to the next that is suggested by the association of thoughts, in accordance with some intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the brain. Man cannot hope fully to duplicate this mental process artificially, but he certainly ought to be able to learn from it.

Vannevar Bush (Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, coordinator of the activities of American scientists in the WWII): As We May Think, The Atlantic Monthly, July 1945

Xanadu is a system for the network sale of documents with automatic royalty on every byte. . . . Any user should be able to follow origins and links of material across boundaries of documents, servers, networks, and individual implementations. There should be a unified environment available to everyone providing access to this whole space. . . . It is a system for a point-and-click universe. This is a completely interactive docuverse.

Ted Nelson (author of the term "Hypertext"): Project Xanadu, 1987


Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts. . . . A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data.

William Gibson (Canadian writer, author of the term "Cyberspace"): Neuromancer, 1984

The Global Village is a world in which everyone is interconnected by vast communications networks that make communicating with people around the world as easy as chatting with a next-door neighbor.

Marshall McLuhan (the Canadian scholar, scientist, guru of mass media), Understanding media, 1964

The World Wide Web (W3) was developed to be a pool of human knowledge, which would allow collaborators in remote sites to share their ideas and all aspects of a common project.

Tim Berners-Lee (scientist CERN, author of WWW), 1994

We don't even call our teachers 'teachers'. We call them 'learning consultants'. And we don't like to be called a 'school'. We think that is a throwback to an archaic age of corralling young people and imposing a curriculum on them.

Michael Maser (co-founder of the Virtual High Learning Community, a nonprofit private school in Vancouver), 1996


The information highway will also make home schooling easier. It will allow parents to select some classes from a range of quality possibilities and still maintain control over content.

Bill Gates (founder and owner of Microsoft): The Road Ahead, 1995

Teachers, long parked at the head of the class, must now move into the passenger seat, where they will observe, coach and accompany their students on the giddy ride down the information highway.

Victor Dwyer: High-tech glory or glorified play?, Maclean Hunter (Canada), 1996

The more diverse the civilization - the more differentiated its technology, energy forms, and people - the more information must flow between its constituent parts... it is this increase which explains why we are becoming an information society.

Alvin Toffler (american writer): The Third Wave, 1980

But generally speaking, what we all need to do, now that any of us can be our own publisher, is be very strict about what we put out -- edit ourselves, hold our articulations to high standards, not spitting out more words than are necessary, and organizing our thoughts as best we can.

David Shenk (american journalist and writer): Data Smog - Surviving the Information Glut, 1997


We all know that the world economy is going through what some call a "second industrial revolution" as knowledge-based businesses replace production-based businesses at the core of economic activity. In the trenches of this revolution a host of companies are scrambling to capture the high ground of the new multimedia, telecomputing mega- industry that is springing up from the digital integration of many diverse enterprises. But contrary … schools are one of the principal barriers to the growth of not only this new industry, but the whole world economy.

Research proves that the most effective human learning actually takes place in the context of real-life experience, not in classrooms.

The first major social impact of the HL (HyperLearning) revolution is to make schooling obsolete. … You don't have to go to a professor in a classroom to get expert "know-how" or training. The expertise and learning are immediately available "on demand" or "just in time."

Lewis J. Perelman (founder and president of Kanbrain): Would you send your kid to a Soviet collective?, Wired Digital Inc., 1997

In the coming century, the emergence of a new social framework of telecommunications may be decisive for the way in which economic and social exchanges are conducted, the way knowledge is created and retrieved, and the character of the occupations and work in which men engage.

Daniel Bell (American scientist, teacher and politician), The social framework of the information society. Tom Forester (Ed.), 1980

However, when it comes to the use of new technology, children are authorities on a topic of importance and value to adults for the first time in history.


Openness involves being vulnerable, but N-Geners have such high self-esteem that they are willing to share their ideas without fear of rejection. It remains to be seen to what extent the free expression tail will wag the bureaucratic dog.

Don Tapscott (American author, researcher, consultant, speaker and authority on Digital Economy), Growing Up Digital - The Rise of the Net Generation. McGraw-Hill, 1997

universe.jpg - 7,68 K

While newborns are born with all the neurons they will ever have, a new phase of brain development begins after birth--the wiring phase. Following birth, each of the brain's 100 billion neurons creates links to thousands of others. The most important factor in this process of developing connections is stimulation, or repeated experience. Neurons that are stimulated by input from the surrounding environment continue to establish new synapses. Those that are seldom stimulated soon die off. "It's like a highway system. Roads with the most traffic get widened. The ones that are rarely used fall into disrepair".

. . .

"The effect of computers on the brain remains a great mystery. I don't think we know anything about it."

Harry Chugani (professor of pediatric neurology, Wayne State University), 1997

A brain which is actively involved and curious is likely to develop stronger connections than one which is merely a passive recipient of learning. There appear to be critical, or at least "sensitive" periods in the course of development when certain neuron groups become particularly amenable to stimulation. If sufficient mental exercise is lacking, the related ability may be permanently degraded.

. . .

Human brains are not only capable of acquiring knowledge; they also hold the potential for wisdom. But wisdom has its own curriculum: conversation, thought, imagination, empathy, reflection. . . . In today's world, these skills appear to be particularly endangered.

Dr. Jane M. Healy (educational psychologist): Endangered Minds, 1991

The computer screen flattens information into narrow, sequential data. This kind of material, they believe, exercises mostly one half of the brain -- the left hemisphere, where primarily sequential thinking occurs. The "right brain" meanwhile gets short shrift -- yet this is the hemisphere that works on different kinds of information simultaneously. It shapes our multi-faceted impressions, and serves as the engine of creative analysis.

Dr. Jane M. Healy (educational psychologist), 1997

Brain can be understood as a holograph, in which everything is enfolded in everything else. Memory is distributed throughout the brain and can thus be reconstituted from any one of the parts.

Karl Pribram (American Brain Scientist, Philosopher and Writer with Czech origin): Consciousness and the Brain. Plenum, New York, 1976

I believe that the experience of cyberspace, the experience of playing selves in various cyber-contexts, perhaps even at the same time, on multiple windows, is a concretization of another way of thinking about the self, not as unitary but as multiple. In this view, we move among various self states, various aspects of self. Our sense of one self is a kind of illusion.

Sherry Turkle (professor of the sociology of science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), interview about her book Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet, 1995

Intelligence is a biological and psychological potential; that potential is capable of being realized to a greater or lesser extent as a consequence of the experiential, cultural, and motivational factors that affect a person.


All people possess at least seven different intelligences which operate in varying degrees depending upon each person's individual profile of intelligences. The seven intelligences include linguistic intelligence, logical-mathematical intelligence, spatial intelligence, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, musical intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, and intrapersonal intelligence.

Howard Gardner(Professor of Education and Psychology, Harvard University): Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, 1983

Getting computers into the classrooms is much less important than getting the important ideas into the classroom.

Michael Fellows (mathematical and computer scientist, University of California),1996

There is no good evidence that most uses of computers significantly improve teaching and learning,

Todd Oppenheimer (journalist): The Computer Delusion, The Atlantic Monthly, July 1997

Children are literally becoming incapable of thinking in the sense in which it involves being inventive with words and text, creating their own images-mining the energy of their minds. It's a lie to say learning is fun - a lie to get adults off the hook for the hard work it takes to teach them a love of words and language.

Robert Bly (American writer): The Sibling Society, Addison Wesley Longman Inc., 1995

The worst images are of people who are overloaded with information which they don't know what to do with, have no sense of what is relevant and what is irrelevant, people who become information junkies.

Neil Postman (professor, University of New York): VISIONS OF CYBERSPACE (interview), 1995

Setting children in front of computers for long periods of time is a dangerous notion. To do that is to replace real human contact, with all its good and bad features, with a medium in which students forge a major part of their identity by interaction with a nonhuman agent.

Richard Rosenberg (professor of computer science, Vancouver), 1996

Multimedia technology which often delivers its message with a combination of music, pictures and interactive elements is filtered through the right side of the brain, whose chief job is to process visual information. And because humans have long been able to trust what they see, that hemisphere absorbs data relatively uncritically. Meanwhile, the brain's left side, which handles verbal and written language-and thinks more discerningly and reflectively, is underutilized by such technology.

I have watched four-year-olds, who I know cannot read, navigate their way through an educational CD-ROM. They're playing it, it's very engaging. But none of the words are going in. If we educate kids this way, critical, analytical thought may well be on the decline.

Sherry Dingman (assistant professor of psychology, Marist College, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.), 1995

Education cannot be reformed by grafting new technologies on to the existing educational structure.

Neil Postman (professor, University of New York): The End of Education, 1995

Most schools would probably be better off if they threw their computers into the Dumpster.

Michael Fellows (a computer scientist, University of Victoria, British Columbia),1997

Occupational ethos of teaching . . . breeds conservatism and resistance to change in institutional practice.

Larry Cuban (professor of education, Stanford University), How teachers taught, 1984

High-tech is the latest educational panacea. … First, it was open classrooms, then new math, then the ditching of phonics. Now, everybody jumps on the bandwagon and says sitting kids in front of computers will solve all our problems. When it doesn't, of course, we will all wake up to find they haven't learned the basics.

Malkin Dare (founding president of the Organization for Quality Education, Canada), 1996

As long as techno-minded policy-makers blame the teachers, ignore the teachers' larger role in the schools, and then expect them to rectify the problem, their dream of computerized classrooms will never come to pass.

Larry Cuban (professor of education, Stanford University), The Washington Post,, October 27 1996

A technocratic belief that computers and networks will make a better society. It ain't necessarily so. Our networks can be frustrating, expensive, unreliable connections that get in the way of useful work. It is an overpromoted, hollow world, devoid of warmth and human kindness.

The Internet provides a vast amount of data. But there's a wide gulf between data and information. There's a long distance from information to knowledge.

Clifford Stoll (astronomer, writer, leading authority on computer security): SILICON SNAKE OIL, 1995

What's wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology. No amount of technology will make a dent. . . . You're not going to solve the problems by putting all knowledge onto CD-ROMs. We can put a Web site in every school -- none of this is bad. It's bad only if it lulls us into thinking we're doing something to solve the problem with education.

Steven Jobs (cofounder Apple Computer), Wired magazine, 1996

Along with the many new information products flooding the marketplace, we are seeing a transformation of the way young people and adults come to know and understand their world. With the shift toward electronic media and information, the challenge of knowing and comprehending is complicated by a movement toward superficial and plastic coverage. Deep thinking, deep reading and deep commentary are replaced in many quarters by Sound Bites, Mind Bites, Eye Candy and Mind Candy.

Jamie McKenzie (advisor of US education departments for technology, editor of FroNowOn): The Mind Candy Kafe, FromNowOn, June 1998

Most educational software tools attack educational problems that we already know how to address using non-technological means, and the software rarely does anything different. . . . Few newer applications, when used properly, can dramatically expand children's thinking by giving them new tools to make and explore conjectures. Perhaps ninety-nine percent of the educational programs are terrible, really terrible.

Judah Schwartz (Professor of Education and Co-Director of the Educational Technology Center, Harvard Graduate School of Education), 1997

What are computers, how are they being used? I watch as kids use thousand dollar machines as flash cards. Rote memory skills on software. Predicted questions with predicted answers. Now, flash cards are good. I learned Mandarin Chinese by using flash cards. My flash cards cost me about 50 cents to make. The ones students are using are about 50 dollars!
Let's look at the SUB TEXT of the situation. When I put a student in front of a computer to learn, what am I telling that student about learning? I am telling them, this is how you learn. Alone. When I give a teacher or a parent some flash cards and I as teacher or parent invest MY time in helping a student learn, what am I saying about education and the student. I'm saying that I CARE about you. That teaching has value. That this is important stuff. When I put a child in front of a computer, what am I subtexting to the child? Please go hide. . . . I have something more important to do. I have something more important than you!

Clifford Stoll (astronomer, writer, leading authority on computer security): lecture, Buffalo Arts Center, 1996

When using software, children may be required to relinquish their voices for the voice of the software's author, assume the software's social construction, give up all options that come with making a choice, and relate to the software that is choosing on their behalf.

Brenda Matthis: Museums and the Web: An International Conference Los Angeles, 1997

Understanding is social in origin.

Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky: The problem of the cultural development of the child, 1929

The key idea is that students actively construct their own knowledge; the mind of the student mediates input from the outside world to determine what the student will learn. Learning is active mental work, not passive reception of teaching. In this work other people play an important role by providing support, challenging thinking, and serving as coaches or models, but the student is the key to learning.

Anita E. Woolfolk (professor, The Ohio State University): Educational Psychology, Allyn and Bacon, 1993

Children learn by trying to do something, by failing, and by being told about or by copying some new behavior that has better results. This perspective is founded on the simple but central insight that children are trying to do something rather than to know something. In other words, they are learning by doing.

Roger C. Schank (director of The Institute for the Learning Sciences, Northwestern University, New Jersey): Engines for Educators, 1995

Project-oriented learning (with technology) is an increasingly popular teaching method, in which students learn through doing and teachers act as facilitators or partners rather than as didacts. But what the students learned had less to do with the computer and more to do with the teaching, If you took the computers out, there would still be good teaching there.

Jane L. David (Director of the Bay Area Research Group, Palo Alto, California, Apple consultant), 1994

To understand is to discover, or reconstruct by rediscovery, and such conditions must be complied with if in the future individuals are to be formed who are capable of production and creativity and not simply repetition.

Jean Piaget (cognitive psychology scientist): To Understand Is To Invent, 1972

We live from birth to death in a world of persons and things which is in large measure what it is because of what has been done and transmitted from previous human activities. When this fact is ignored, experience is treated as if it were something which goes on exclusively inside an individual's body and mind. It ought not to be necessary to say that experience does not occur in a vacuum. There are sources outside an individual which give rise to experience.

John Dewey: Experience and education. New York: Macmillan. 1938

Each kind of understanding results from the development of particular intellectual tools that we acquire from the societies we grow up in . . .
Each kind of understanding does not fade away to be replaced by the next, but rather each properly coalesces in significant degree with its predecessor.

Kieran Egan (professor, Simon Fraser University): The Educated Mind, The University of Chicago Press, 1997

Knowledge must be understood as a dynamic system, constantly changing and reshaping. Human learners do not passively follow a pre-programmed package or react to external stimulus in a dynamic view of knowledge. Rather, they follow unpredictable patterns which are discontinuous and complex.

You, Y.: What Can We Learn from Chaos Theory?, Educational Technology Research & Development, 1993

It is part of my thesis that all our knowledge grows only through the correcting of our mistakes.

Karl R. Popper (Sir, philosopher of science formerly from Vienna), Conjectures and Refutations, Routledge, 1969

The role of the teacher is to create the conditions for invention rather then to provide ready-made knowledge. . . .
The best way to learn is through apprenticeship-that is, by doing some real task together with someone who has skills that you don't have. . . .
So my position here recognizes the reality of both kinds of learning- constructivist and istructionist-and concentrates on the balance between them.

Seymour Papert (professor M.I.T., Logo author): The Connected Family, 1996

The possibilities of using this thing poorly so outweigh the chance of using it well, it makes people like us, who are fundamentally optimistic about computers, very reticent.

Sherry Turkle (professor of the sociology of science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), 1997

Computer is an "amplifier," because it encourages both enlightened study practices and thoughtless ones. There's a real risk, though, that the thoughtless practices will dominate, slowly dumbing down huge numbers of tomorrow's adults.

Alan Lesgold (professor of psychology, University of Pittsburgh), 1997

There are three ways to teach a child. The first by example. The second is by example. The third is by example.

Albert Schweitzer (philosopher, doctor and missioner)

When I cross my way with my follower, I would like to push him to win.

Antonin Sova (Czech poet): Teacher to student

The Overview of the evolution of educational technology - tool for overview the quotations
The influence of technology on the human mind - main document

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