Jerome Bruner on Technology, Change, and Education

I sure picked the right theorists for this “principles of societal development” KAM. Check out these excerpts from Bruners’ Toward a Theory of Instruction:

It may well be the case that not only are we entering a period of technological maturity in which education will require constant redefinition, but that the period ahead may involve such a rapid rate of change in specific technology that narrow skills will become obsolete within a reasonably short time after their acquisition. (Bruner, 1966, p. 32)

He got it in the sixties! Then there was this bit:

As the technology matures… education in its very nature takes on an increasing role by providing the skills needed to manage and control the expanding enterprise. // The first response of educatgional systems under such accelearation is to produce technicians and engineers and scientists as needed, but it is doubtful whether such a priority produces what is required to manage the enterprise. For no specific science or technology provides a metalanguage in terms of whichh to think about a society, its technology, its science, and the contant changes that these undergo with innovation… Somehow, if change is to be managed, it requires men with skills in sensing continuity and opportunity for continuity. (Bruner, 1966, p. 33)

This is what state standards should be after, not specific skills and facts, but the metaskills of learning… and thinking. Bruner also addresses the role of schools in effecting positive social change:

By [exploring the limits of man’s perfectibility, education] can, In think, have its major social impact by keeping lievely the society’s full sense of what is possible… If we are to do justice to our evolution, we shall need, as never before, a way of transmittin the crucial ideas and skills, the acquired characteristics that express and amplify man’s powers. (Bruner, 1966, p. 38)


Bruner, J. S. (1966). Toward a theory of instruction. Cambridge, Ma: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.