New technologies : contributing to new concepts and cultures of curriculum and sustainability

Lidstone, John (2006) New technologies : contributing to new concepts and cultures of curriculum and sustainability. In Lee, John Chi-Kin & Williams, Michael (Eds.) Environmental and geographic Education for sustainability: Cultural Contexts. Nova Science Publishers Inc, New York, pp. 173-183.


Perhaps the main difference between human beings and other life forms with which we share the planet called 'Earth' has been the constant development of new technologies. In the current context, however, we choose to define new technologies as those that have emerged most recently, as various forms of digital information communication technologies (ICT) have converged and continue to converge. Previous means of transmitting information, in whatever form, suffered from progressive reductions in quality with distance and repetition, but, with the advent of the digital era, information of almost all kinds (smell, weight and texture are still exceptions) can be transmitted and reproduced with no reduction in the quality of the original. What can be done, however, is a far cry from what will be done, and the spread of these constantly emerging new technologies across the world is far from even. And, furthermore, equal access to the new information communication technologies is no guarantee of equal influence. As has been long acknowledged, information is not knowledge, and it goes without saying that knowledge is not wisdom.

In exploring the influences of ICT on education for sustainability in this digitally globalising postmodern world, we must admit that the search for some grand theory about the potential influences of new technologies on education now seems doomed to failure. Almost regardless of the scale at which we choose to operate, what counts as new technologies is highly variable across bothtime and space. What is new in one part of the world may be regarded as 'old hat' elsewhere! Last year's wonder-toy is this year's 'entry level' standard. That technologies are developing at an ever faster rate is a truism, but achieving an understanding of the effects of such changes on education (whether school-based or lifelong learning) is hard to generalise. Furthermore, in the context of sustainability at the global level (as well as that of education for sustainability), we may need to differentiate between what goes on in schools in the West, and the lifelong learning that is typically undertaken by those who live in poorer countries where the ability to respond quickly to changing circumstances can make the difference between life and death.

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ID Code: 7813
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: For more information or for a copy of this book chapter see the publisher's URL above or contact the author at
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Curriculum, sustainability, technology, cultural contexts, John Lidstone, HERN
ISBN: 1594549451
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development (130202)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Secondary Education (130106)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Humanities and Social Sciences Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. Economics Business and Management) (130205)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright Nova Science Publishers 2006
Deposited On: 22 May 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2014 04:56

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