When will the Information Society Lead to a Revolution in Curricular Goals and Practices?

By Jacqueline M. Zalewski and Leigh S. Shaffer.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

While there is a consensus that the world is
undergoing an economic and cultural revolution, often
called “The Information Society,” we have yet to see signs
that these trends are about to foment anything truly
revolutionary in the classroom. While there has been much
talk and action in the name of the goal of “information
literacy,” our view is that the changes being implemented
so far affect the delivery of information to students far
more than it affects the content of what students learn.
We believe that the revolution will come when people begin
to connect the possibilities of delivery of information via
the internet with the possibilities of overhauling the
content of the curriculum to reflect the new availability
of the information itself. We discuss a now familiar
transition in the sociology of work—the transition from
expending capital by building large inventories of
products “just-in-case” a customer would order them to
minimizing the capital outlay for inventories by developing
instantaneous electronic ordering and rapid physical
delivery of products “just-in-time” to meet customer
demands. We make the argument that this transition in the
workplace has its parallels in the classroom, because the
traditional justification for much curricular content is to
require students to learn something “just-in-case” they
might need to know it or use it. We argue that the
revolutionary changes in education will occur when
educators begin to consider how to use the activities of
the classroom to develop basic, transferable skills that
include the goal of informational literacy so that students
capitalize on their new ability to access content “just-in-
time” to incorporate it into classroom activities and

Keywords: “Just in Time” Education Curriculum, Transferable Skills, Information Literacy

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.143-154. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.153MB).

Dr. Jacqueline M. Zalewski

Assistant Professor, Anthropology and Sociology, West Chester University, West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA

I am a sociologist with research interests in workplace restructuring, its effects on professionals and their work, and the implications that greater employment contingencies have for education practices. Dissertation research examined outsourcing and its impact on information technologists and human resource professionals. I have published on the limits outsourcing places on professional discretion. Forthcoming articles will show the effects of outsourcing on social relations, values, and identity; and describe the challenges that often characterize relationships between two organizations in an outsourcing deal. This article, in collaboration with Dr. Leigh S. Shaffer, represents the first in a series we plan that conceives of a “just-in-time” approach to education.

Dr. Leigh S. Shaffer

Professor, Sociology, Anthropology and Sociology, West Chester University, West Chester, Pennyslvania, USA

Leigh S. Shaffer received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University and is currently Professor of Sociology at West Chester University in West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA. He has previously authored papers in this Journal on human capital development and recipe knowledge.


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