Roadblocks on the Information Highway: The IT Revolution in Japanese Education

Roadblocks on the Information Highway: The IT Revolution in Japanese Education


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Although Japanese universities have relied on information technology to resolve numerous problems, their high expectations are undermined by lags in implementing that technology. This innovative edited volume argues that lags in IT implementation in Japanese education are created by contradictory and challenging responses of the social environment. If this dialectic can be visualized as having hands, the right avidly promotes IT, while the left hand simultaneously blocks it. The result, of course, is an impasse. The issues central to this stalemate are significant because they point beyond the schools, to a broader set of problem areas in Japanese society. The contributors to Roadblocks on the Information Highway discover and discuss the contradictions inherent in Japanese society and culture as they are played out in the social contexts of IT service providers, web masters, and classroom teachers who implement IT. They then show how these contradictions indicate broader, structural problems that pervade the dynamic between Japanese education and the state and business sectors. Ultimately, in a reach that goes beyond Japan, this book examines relationships between technology and society, persuasively convincing readers that the modern age has created an inextricable link between the two.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780739106280
Publisher: Lexington Books
Publication date: 04/15/2003
Series: Studies of Modern Japan Series
Pages: 364
Product dimensions: 6.02(w) x 9.04(h) x 1.07(d)

About the Author

Jane M. Bachnik is Professor of Anthropology at the National Institute of Multimedia Education in Chiba, Japan.

Table of Contents

Part 1 Introduction: Social Challenges to the IT Revolution in Japanese Education Part 2 Reluctant Providers, Hesitant Users: IT Support Services Chapter 3 A Nationwide Assessment of IT Implementation in Higher Education Chapter 4 The Unbearable Lightness of Being an IT Service Provider: A Case Study Chapter 5 No Faculty Service Stations on the Information Highway: A Case Study Chapter 6 Do IT Yourself: Short-circuits in Technical Support Services Chapter 7 Social and Structural Barriers to the IT Revolution in High-Tech Industries Part 8 Open Circuits and Closed Doors: Institutional Barriers Chapter 9 Cyberstructure, Society, and Education in Japan Chapter 10 Barriers to Educational Use of the Internet in a Japanese University Chapter 11 Lessons from a Program to Develop Faculty IT Skills Chapter 12 Developing a University Website: A Webmaster's Perspective Chapter 13 Implementing IT in the "Perfect Bureaucracy" Part 14 Pedagogy: More than Technology Chapter 15 Teaching, Learning, and Computing in Japan and the United States Chapter 16 The Significance of Off-line Learning for On-line Projects Chapter 17 On-line Technology Isn't Enough: Transforming the Teacher-Student Learning Process Chapter 18 Three Critical Gaps in Computer Literacy Chapter 19 Technology and the Tyranny of Tradition in Japanese Higher Education Part 20 Conclusion: Technology and the Status Quo: The Paradox of Reform

What People are Saying About This

Craig Calhoun

"Since Japan has promoted IT more intensively than almost any other country, and is itself a leading producer, it is telling that actual implementation has been slow. Jane Bachnik and her colleagues find the reasons not just in bureaucracy and individual intransigence, but in deeper social contradictions. The analyses in this book not only inform our understanding of IT and of Japanese society, but illuminate the relationship between culture and the pressure for practical change in any context.

Glen S. Fukushima

Don't be fooled by the title of this book. Although its theme is Japanese education, it is in fact much more: a far-reaching and critical analysis of the central "tensions"and "paradoxes" facing contemporary Japan—technology versus culture and social structure, plan versus implementation and results, individual versus organization and state, etc. Read this important book to understand the "roadblocks," both intentioned and unintentioned, that can impede social, political, and economic reform in Japan.

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