"You can’t get there from here." It’s not just the punch line of a driving direction joke. For us educators, whose destination is the realization of educational technology’s potential, that punch line sometimes seems closer to the truth than we like.
The journey to that destination began around 1992. Looking back to where we were 10 years ago and forward to where we have to go, it’s clear that as technology advances, our destination advances as well. I believe we are further from our destination now than we were at the start of this journey, and I can’t help but wonder if we can get there from here.
Take a look at Figure 1, a representational (if unscientific) graph that charts the growth of two factors over time. It begins in 1992, and the two growth factors are the Educational Potential of Technology and the Reality of Educational Technology Implementation in schools. The destination is the intersection of those two lines—as yet unachieved, you’ll notice. I’ll call the gap between the two lines the Implementation Gap or I-Gap.
As schools began to get online, those of us who wanted to explore the internet did so without roadblocks. The tools were crude and sometimes difficult to use, but with a good road map and some perseverance, you could start out on the journey. The idea of connecting with others around the world was empowering. The ability to display students’ work made many early websites celebrations of student achievement. We began reaching out through email to communicate and collaborate. We were on our way. It was exhilarating. The enthusiasm generated by the early adopters made it look as if the I-Gap could be narrowed, and for a while it looked as if schools might be able to close it. But then something happened.
A Litany of Dangers and Fears
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