ERIC Number: ED334991
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Reference Count: N/A
Theory Building and Educational Technology: Foundations for Reconceptualization.
Koetting, J. Randall; Januszewski, Alan
This discussion of the contested/problematic concept (i.e., words that are open to debate and discussion as to their meaning) focuses on the notion of theory as one example in educational technology. Arguing that the notions of contested and problematic suggest debate, re-interpretation, and the need for dialogue with others to establish meaning, this paper suggests that through the diversity of understandings of this concept, new language can be used to talk about the work of educational technologists. It is expected that this new language, in turn, will open new possibilities for dialogue and praxis in the field of educational technology. The discussion begins by addressing the question of why theory is used. Distinctions are made between empirical-analytic sciences, the historical-hermeneutic sciences, and the critical sciences. The word theory is then discussed in the context of the field of educational technology, and it is noted that the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) definition of educational technology (1977) endorses the empirical-analytic approach, a descriptive theory concerned with prediction and control. Nagel's fourth sense of theory as a systematic analysis of a set of related concepts (1969) is seen as promising for this discussion, since theory in this sense becomes both a conceptual analysis of a given word and a normative statement of its use. It is argued that theory interpreted in this fashion becomes the grounding of new understanding and the potential for change. It is concluded that the limitations of the prediction/control cycle can be broken through hermeneutical and critical inquiry, giving the field a radically different language and conceptual basis from which to work. (6 references) (BBM)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Empirical Analysis
Note: In: Proceedings of Selected Research Presentations at the Annual Convention of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology; see IR 015 132.