As a research fellow in the Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research, my focus has been the impact of cultural forces on learning and technology. Specifically, I have focused on how political influence, as a cultural force, impacts the learning process and its use of technological conveyance in a public educational environment. After a year of research and studying a way to disseminate this information, I have chosen the Culture, Learning and Technology division of the American Education, Communication, and Technology as the primary way to accomplish this task. For example, I have a proposed chapter under consideration for a book to be published by Springer on issues affecting culture, learning, and technology and I sent in a proposal for consideration for the Summer Symposium on a similar issue.
I feel that such a study is significant because it seems that most scholars analyzing the impact of technology on learning or the e-learning environment do not realize that cultural forces have a significant impact on this process. What I am hoping to do is build on the study I have done so far to analyze how such forces influence the educational process on a nationwide or regional wide basis. I have been encouraged in this endeavor by the editors of the AECT-Springer Major Online Reference Manual; I hope to have something to present to them by the end of the year.
What I found out in my study is that often cultural forces such as politics have a strong effect on the learning content and technological conveyance in the public educational process. In the school district that I studied, the political influence influenced the decision to terminate a computer-based learning system for helping students learn how to take tests. What I learned from this study was that one must study the cultural context in which learning and how it is conveyed by technology must be studied. Scholars, educational personnel and administrators and others involved in this process must realize that such activities do not function in a vacuum.
Right now, scholars I have talked to are interested in the scholarly endeavor I am focusing on; I hope by the end of the year that such scholarly endeavors will contribute to the understanding of the nexus between culture, learning, and technology and be a contribution to bettering the learning process in public education. I feel that if scholarship does not focus on contributing to the betterment of society, community, etc., then it loses its value and support