Bright futures technology: Curriculum, Maori and the environment

James D. Marshall
Vol 19, Number 2, p.214
In this very long paper I have taken the opportunity to bring together some of my ideas, critiques, and written material from the preceding decade on the following topics: the reforms in education; the curriculum; technology; technology in the New Zealand curriculum; and the bright new future which the knowledge economy and the knowledge society are purported to offer us. Deeply embedded and embroiled in this is the new information technology. In general technology is conceived as being neutral, as a means to an end only. Section I, drawing heavily upon the work of the German philosopher, Martin Heidegger, critiques this notion of technology, the effects upon the self of conceiving technology in this manner, and looks at the impact upon Maori of western technology. Section II looks at the introduction of technology as both a subject and as an aid to learning and teaching in the New Zealand curriculum. The argument is that whereas the curriculum makes a place for social and environmental considerations it still conceives technology as neutral. In the long term this will involve changes to the notion of the self for both Pakeha and Maori. In Section III I examine the Bright Futures Policy of the New Zealand Government (1999), arguing that the 'rush' to the knowledge economy and the knowledge society is not new because it has been a well laid path going back to at least the 1988/9 Education Acts and the 'reforms' in education. Bright Futures is not something which we have to now do, for we have been doing ' it' for some time. Instead Bright Futures should be understood as something which 'we', as educators, have to speed up.