ERIC Number: ED348013
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Feb
Reference Count: N/A
Educational Biotechnology and a Search for Moral Opposition to It.
Nichols, Randall G.
This paper argues that several aspects of educational technology, especially educational biotechnology (EBT), are harmful to people and the environment, and will eventually lead to harms that far out-weigh any purported advantages of the technology, and that this is morally unacceptable. (EBT is characterized as the study and application of scientific and other organized knowledge, processes, and products to the physical state of humans for the purpose of creating changes in learning.) The first sections of the paper describe what could be immoral about educational technology (including EBT), assumptions guiding the author's current research for answers, characterizations of EBT and related ideas, and professional literature about the issues raised in the paper. Three basic lines along which educational technology just might be shown to be injurious are indicated: (1) technology may impede learning by constricting options for learners and parents; (2) oppression of less advantaged people is exacerbated by computers in education; and (3) technology and educational technology are ecologically destructive first cousins. It is suggested that intentionally choosing to continue on the path of destruction, even though the extent of negative possibilities in known, makes these effects immoral. It is assumed that critical theory and literature related to it will help show the way to a moral condition in this matter, and the ideas of three theorists--Habermas (critical theory), Rorty (liberal ironist), and Barrett (moral will)--are examined. It is concluded that we must achieve a balanced use of technology so that schools, people, and life are in moral and physical balance, and too many unnecessary and intentional deaths may be avoided. (41 references) (BBM)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Educational Biotechnology
Note: In: Proceedings of Selected Research and Development Presentations at the Convention of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology and Sponsored by the Research and Theory Division; see IR 015 706.