Title

TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE AND ENGLISH TEACHING: A DELPHI STUDY OF AMERICAN, BRITISH, AND CANADIAN ENGLISH EDUCATORS' VIEWS OF THE FUTURE OF SECONDARY ENGLISH TEACHING (WORD-PROCESSING, MEDIA, LITERACY)

Date of Completion

January 1985

Keywords

Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

As rapidly expanding technology alters the ways in which people communicate, English educators face the increasingly insistent question of how to keep the teaching of secondary English responsive to these changes. While commentary from social critics, scientists, and futurists abounds, there has been no consensus among expert English educators. The availability of such a consensus would be of value to those concerned with the appropriateness of today's curriculum for tomorrow's world. Employing a modified Delphi technique, this study attempted to develop that consensus.^ A panel of 77 distinguished English educators from the United States, Britain, and Canada addressed specific ways English teaching might change by the year 2000 as a result of technology's impact on society or schools. They generated lists of potential changes from which 42 of the most commonly cited were selected for scrutiny. Through two additional rounds of questionnaires, they estimated the probability of occurrence for each change by 1990, 1995, and 2000, rated its desirability, and produced extensive commentary. Consensus was measured using medians and interquartile ranges.^ Among those developments on which the experts achieved consensus are the following.^ They identify four technological developments as having greatest impact on English teaching: widespread use of microcomputers, highly sophisticated forthcoming software, capabilities of telematic (telecommunications plus computers) interface, and cultural subordination of print to screen media.^ Although they foresee little change before the year 2000, panelists concur that by the end of the century English teaching will be based on a new definition of literacy--expanded to include all message systems. They believe basic reading, grammar, and mechanics skills will be taught by computer; that word processing will promote emphasis on text revision; that competence in networking and information handling will be viewed as basics; that media analysis will be emphasized; that literature will be taught via video as well as print, and that attention to more complex kinds of teaching and learning will result from more sophisticated electronic resources. ^