Pursuing development with educational technology standards : complicating narratives of ICTs in the classroom




Custard, Holly Ann

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This dissertation examines stakeholder narratives that surround Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) in education, as well as the gap that exists between this narrative and effective widespread integration of ICTs in the classroom. Popular narratives surrounding ICTs in education often position ICTs as positive and inevitable and as a development strategy that benefits individuals, nations, and the global marketplace. However, ICTs are not equally distributed or enjoyed within or among nations. Technologies, information, and social development efforts are not neutral but are socially constructed and motivated by specific actors trying to achieve certain outcomes. This research, anchored in theories of ICTs in education, globalization, development communication, digital divide, and production of culture, provides a critical perspective to better understand who contributes to the production of the education technology culture and what social development gains are possible through the implementation of such efforts.

One major factor contributing to the narrative of ICTs in education is the widespread adoption of education technology standards. This case study examines the stakeholder culture that produces those standards and contributes to the education technology narratives. Through interview and historical organization document analysis, I examine the processes followed to establish the National Education Technology Standards (NETS); the stakeholders that contribute to and operate within a culture of instructional technology that informs the development of technology standards; and how the production of culture surrounding instructional technology standards has been realized internationally.

I argue that there is a disconnect between the production of instructional technology culture and the realities facing poor schools and poor nations. Despite the development and widespread adoption of educational technology standards, significant educational gains have largely gone unrealized. While I do not dispute the importance of establishing a minimum set of expectations for ICTs in education, I assert that the focus on standards distracts from more challenging conversations concerning inequities among schools and the deep socioeconomic divisions that continue to reinforce the digital divide and the overall inability to provide equitable opportunities for students.



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