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High Tech/High Touch:
A Computer Education Leadership Development Workshop

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License.

Moursund, D.G. (Copyright © ICCE 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989.) Copyright © David Moursund December 2004). High Tech/High Touch: A Computer Education Leadership Development Workshop. [The first edition was published June 1, 1985.]

Click here for PDF file of the book.

Click here for Microsoft Word file of this book. Note that this may download the document to your desktop so that you need to open it from there. The file name is HT-HT.doc.

Click here for Table of Contents.

Click here for Original Preface to the book.

Click here for Preface to the December 2004 reprint of the book.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the 2004 Reprint 3
Preface (Original) 5
Workshop History and Overview 6
Abridged Resume of David Moursund 9
Session 1: Introduction and Active Listening 11
Session 2: Overview of Computers in Instruction 19
Session 3: Leadership Traits 36
Session 4: Higher-Order Skills 43
Session 5: Problem Solving 55
Session 6: Goals of Computer Education 70
Session 7: Analysis of the Computer-Assisted Learning Goal 79
Session 8: Computer-Integrated Instruction 89
Session 9: The Computer Coordinator: Responsibilities and Preparation 101
Session 10: Evaluation 110
Session 11: The "I Can't Write” Syndrome 117
Session 12: Some Thoughts On Mathematics Education 125
Session 13: Computer-Based Information Systems in Social Studies 136
Session 14: Stress and Burnout 145
Session 15: Keeping Up, Final Questions, Closure 152
Reference Books 157
Total Collection of Cited References 159

Preface to the Original Edition

This book contains materials for the Leadership Development Workshops I have created and facilitated over the past few years. As the book title suggests, I have drawn heavily from the human potential movement. Many of the ideas I use in my workshops are similar to those one is apt to encounter in workshops designed to help participants “grow."

The materials are divided into SESSIONS. In a workshop, each SESSION is 1-3 hours in length, depending on the interests of the workshop participants and the overall length of the workshop. In total, this book contains enough materials for a five day workshop.

Some of the SESSION materials given in this publication are very detailed—nearly at the transcript level. Others are merely the typical types of notes that might be given to workshop participants to be used during a workshop.

Workshop participants and other readers of these materials are encouraged to make use of the ideas and exercises. However, please be aware that the materials are copyrighted. If you want to make arrangements to purchase additional copies or reproduce certain parts of these materials, please contact me.

The January 1989 edition of this book contains two major pieces that were written by students who were using this book as a required text in a graduate course at the University of Oregon. Students in the course were given the assignment of writing materials that would be suitable for inclusion in this text and that were suitable for use in a graduate course in the field of computers in education. I want to extend my appreciation to Sharon Yoder, the course instructor, and to the two students, Shane Goodwin and Cynthia Landeen. Their contributions may be found in Session 12 and Session 2 respectively.

Dave Moursund

January 1989.

Preface for the 2004 Reprinting

This workshop is representative of a “personal growth movement” phase of my life. I first encountered the idea of high tech/high touch in The Third Wave by Alvin Toffler (1980). Heidi Toffler, although not listed as an author, contributed significantly to the book. I am truly impressed by the futuristic insight that Alvin and his wife Heidi showed when they were writing this book 25 years ago!

I find it interesting to look at current aspects of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in education from the point of view of high tech/high touch. The capabilities of ICT systems have grown by a factor of perhaps 10,000 or more since the Tofflers wrote The Third Wave. ICT has been a major change factor in our society and in the world. A gradual pattern of “tech” versus “touch” has emerged. ICT (the “tech”) has speeded up and/or facilitated increased automation of many tasks and problem-solving activities. People often draw an analogy with how the machines of the industrial revolution changed the nature of physical work. The machines of the ICT revolution are changing the nature of mental work. In combination, the industrial revolution and the ICT revolution are significantly changing the nature of the work that people do. And, of course, they are changing the standard of living, formal and informal education, and many other aspects of our lives.

The diagram given below raises critical questions about machines versus people.

Here is an over simplification of what I gain through the analysis of this diagram. Think of the left side of the Venn diagram as high tech, and think of the right side of the Venn diagram as high touch. The left side and middle sections of this diagram are growing in size, while the right side is shrinking. However, the right side is still very large.

From my point of view, we need a PreK-12 educational system that carefully takes this diagram into consideration. Our children are growing up in a world in which the combination of the industrial and ICT revolution will continue to expand the left side of the Venn diagram. In my opinion, this means that our educational system needs to prepare students to live in such a world.

Each of us has our own ideas on what constitutes a good education for life in the future. My personal opinion is that our schools should spend less time helping students learn to do (by hand, or with very simple tools such as pencil and paper) tasks that machines can clearly do much better than people. This will free up time so that more emphasis can be placed on the high touch and middle categories of the Venn diagram.

I have held this opinion for many years, and the strength of this opinion grows as the capabilities of ICT continue to grow. Here is a short story that helps to illustrate the magnitude of the change going on in ICT.
Recently I replaced a 450 Megahertz computer on my desk at work with a 1.6 Gigahertz machine. My “new” machine wasn’t actually new—it was a hand-me-down from a grant that I had been running. I decided to upgrade the primary memory of this machine by adding a gigabyte of memory. The cost was $210. This memory upgrade contains somewhat over 8-billion transistors as well as a number of other electronic components. This means that the transistors cost less than 1/400,000 of a cent apiece.

I mentally contrast this with the cost of vacuum tubes (at perhaps a dollar apiece) when I was first getting into the computer field. Put a different way, I added the equivalent of $8-billion worth of value to my computer, in terms of what such capability would have cost when I was first getting into the computer field. Of course, such comparisons make little sense, since it was not possible to have an 8-billion vacuum tube machine in those days. Still, it makes me feel good to think that in some sense I am a multi-billionaire. I routinely use a tool that a multi-billionaire could not have acquired at the time I first started using a computer.

Finally, you may note that there are two sets of references at the end of the book. The first is from the original book, and it contains only references to books and dissertations. The second is the collection of all of the references given at the ends of the chapters; this comprehensive list was not included in the original book.

The Web had not yet been invented when I was writing this book. Then, and now, I read extensively. I subscribed to a number of periodicals and I bought lots of books. What has changed in my reading habits is the amount of time that I now spend browsing the “global library” that most people call the Web. In the books I have written during the past few years, I have consciously tried to provide references that my readers can find on the Web. Having a world-class library at my fingertips has become on of the great pleasures in my life.

David Moursund

December 2004