The Prism of History
The hardware and software of global education have evolved through regular cycles of development and decay. Pursuing the analogy between educational technology and artistic cubism, one can conclude that the educational media have evolved through two cycles since the 1970s, during which the traditional formats of television were analyzed, synthesized into educational formats, and communicated to the public in an effort similar to ‘cubist constructivism’. In the 1990s, the new media were abandoned in favor of internet-based methods, and new new media began to be analyzed and synthesized. In the fi rst decade of the 21st century, the media are at the low end of a new development cycle. Owing to the rapid emergence of technologies (the smart-phone, social media, etc.), new analytical phases are required constantly, and the research and development of this period has not yet succeeded in applying the latest new media in a globally acceptable manner. From Genghis Khan to Facebook, efforts to dominate the globe have been justifi ed in terms of the benefi ts they will bring, while ignoring the dissonances created in the process. The ‘asynchronous’ processes of open and distance learning (e-mail, text-conferencing, etc.) are a case in point. Originally justifi ed in terms of their convenience for students with scheduling problems, they have since contributed to the dissociated, impersonal state for which distance education is commonly criticized. Picasso summed up the process in his phrase, “Every act of creation is fi rst an act of destruction”, although in the educational context it would have been better if the traditional media had not been destroyed before the new ones have been found to work. Teachers and instructional designers can address this problem by embracing effi cient new media in the current development cycle, while overcoming the incompatibility of their use in different parts of the world.