Is the Kozma/ Clark Debate relevant for the 21st century?

Without websites like and I probably would have spent a lot more time making book reports and looking up foreign words. Wrts was a tool that also helped me a lot in learning vocabulary. But are these innovations in ICT good for education or not? Kozma and Clark (1994) have been debating about this subject since the early nineties. Furthermore the discussion is still a current one on how ICT is best applicable and on how teachers should use it (Mueller, Wood, Willoughby, Ross, & Specht, 2008; Salinas, 2008).

Clark (1994) says that we should start with method and afterward we should take a look on what form of media is the best to present this method of teaching. He says there should be a line of demarcation between method and medium that is used. If a form of ICT is the best way to go he says it is good to use ICT but when it is just as good as a book and the book is cheaper he says the book should  be the first choice. Kozma (1994) says you it’s a bad thing to have this demarcation line and you should use all the possibilities that the different forms of media give you. Kennisnet (2013) has a point of view that is similar to that of that is similar to that of Clark the four component model. In this model you start with vision, expertise, content of applications and  end with infrastructure or the media being used. In their opinion the vision or method should be the starting point of a way to learn people.

In my opinion the point of view of Kennisnet and Clark the better one that the method and effectiveness of teaching students something is way more important than making use of as much different forms of media if possible. But the argument of using books instead of ICT because it’s cheaper is losing ground since most people in the Netherlands have some sort of computer which they can use for studying in a lot of ways without spending lots of money on paper. But beside this as being one of the flaws I think that vision and method should be more important and come first instead of the medium it is presented in just as Kennisnet (2013) and Clark (1994) say .

Clark, R. E. (1994). Media Will Never Influence Learning. Educational technology research and development, 42(2), 21-29. doi:10.1007/BF02299088

Kozma, R.B. (1994). Will Media Influence Learning? Reframing the Debate.Educational technology   research and development, 42(2), 7-19. doi:10.1007/BF02299087

Kennisnet (2013). Ict in het onderwijs 2013 De belangrijkste informatie uit de Vier in balans monitor

Mueller, J., Wood, E., Willoughby, T., Ross, C., & Specht, J. (2008). Identifying discriminating variables   between teachers who fully integrate computers and teachers with limited         integration. Computers & Education, 51(4), 1523-1537


Een gedachte over “Is the Kozma/ Clark Debate relevant for the 21st century?

  1. Nice way of introducing the topic! In the last paragraph you say there is a flaw in Clark’s argument because nowadays computers might be cheaper than paper. But.. this is not really a flaw, is it? Had Clark written the paper today, I guess he would have had to agree that computers are the best option because they are cheaper and more efficient. The fact remains that his reasons for choosing ICT over paper are very different from Kozma’s reasons.


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