explorations in the ed tech world

same sounds-different meanings

Tag: ed tech history

#OER18 and some historical branches of open

I’m headed to #OER18 in a few days where I’ll be presenting alongside Viv Rolfe (with contributions from Tanya Dorey-Alias who sadly can’t be there) on the historical branches of open.  We connected about this last year, having a shared fondness for things that we forgot about open and it’s various branches or tentacles, and our short presentation will delve into a few of them namely open classrooms, open pedagogy, and self-directed learning.

As I stated in this post from a couple of years ago, Viv really kick started this at Open Ed a few years back, and it inspired me to look into the history of open pedagogy.  The interest in Paquette’s framing of this is the 70s seems to be substantial and is one of the most frequently visited posts I have on this little blog.  I worked with our library to get a copy of volume one of his book (not easy), where he expands on the topic in more detail than the article I shared.  I think it’s in the best interest of those of us exploring this topic to have access to this full volume, so I’ve scanned and posted it here.  Paquette Tome 1

It’s going to require a fair amount of cut and paste into Google translate but if that seems daunting it’s worth perusing the table of contents.



Run, Computer, Run: The Mythology of Educational Innovation


When I was prepping my keynote for CNIE, I encountered some interesting quotes taken from a 1969 collection of essays playfully entitled Run, Computer, Run: The Mythology of Educational Innovation written by Anthony Oettinger.  There are literally no copies on the interwebs that I could find, but I was able to interlibrary loan a copy, ran out of time, digitized a copy, and in the interest of important history I’m sharing it here:   run computer run 1969.  I haven’t had to photocopy an entire book since about 1998, so the 25 minutes at the copier flipping pages and pressing the Start button 150 times may have been a bit tedious, and may have resulted in a few skipped pages.

I’m still going through this publication, but here are a few things I’ve noted:

I’m still going through this publication, but here are a few things I’ve noted:

  1. The Forward, written by Emmanuel Mesthene, Director of the Harvard University Program on Technology and Society, comes in at four pages and is a marvellous time capsule of ed tech in 1969.
  2. Chapter 4 is a surprisingly current and relevant description of the properties of educational devices,  which Oettinger positions as “devices in a broad sense, encompassing the poeple and the organizations serving as agents of change. Novelty  and glamor are not the only properties of educational tools worthy of note or sufficient to make them valuable for teaching.”  Oettinger goes on to outline some of these properties which include flexibility and adapatability, amount of resource required, reliability and maintenance, complexity, and so on.

The publication is a bundling of chapters and case descriptions coupled with observation and a bit of research.  Its thesis is somewhat clear, but there is lots of room for critique.  Fortunately, the book was considered important enough to result in at least eight reviews (of which six that I could actually access) that ranged from balanced and favourable (4) to mixed or scathing (2).


Norman Kurland Review

Peter Rossi review

Oettinger is still alive according to his wikipedia page, and I think it would be pretty fascinating to hear an interview on his thoughts on how far, or how little we’ve traveled since 1969.