Marie Martin

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 1-1-2007


Worldwide Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Instructional Leadership Excellence (ILEAD)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Gary Shank

Committee Member

Rick McCown

Committee Member

Susan O'Rourke


technology, education, videoconferencing, confessional literature, ancient Irish culture


My purpose in this dissertation is to explore aspects of the nature of learning and to address the question of how to use technology in education to nourish the human spirit. To do this, I use a combination of critical and historical analysis. I reconnect first of all with my native ancient Irish culture. From this perspective, I gain an understanding of learning as a spiritual quest for transcendence effected through learning by wandering, and an insight into technology’s noble role in nourishing this hunger of the human spirit. I find that this vision is given historical expression in the wanderings across medieval Europe of the Irish scholar-saints and vagantes, and in the inner wanderings of confessional writers from St. Augustine in the fourth century to the Internet bloggers of the new millennium. I contrast this perspective with the radically different and still dominant 19th century utilitarian factory school paradigm that sees transfer learning as the norm and technology’s role as limited to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the traditional learning experience. I discern intimations, however, of the urge to nourish the hunger of the human spirit in the prophetic voices that, since the turn of the 20th century, have been urging us to rethink our vision of learning. I identify an emerging awareness of the importance of harnessing the new technologies to the service of this vision of education and to a collaborative upbuilding of the human spirit, through the connectedness of global learning communities. I find further intimations in the writings of modern visionaries who see the convergence of minds in cyberspace as part of the process of human and planetary becoming. Finally, I seek to reconfigure the ancient Irish perspective in order to offer a vitality restoring vision of learning that may encourage 21st century educators to reclaim the primacy of the spirit in our education philosophy, and to foster a new relationship with technology that honors its transformative potential to help us become other than we have been, and to have a new perspective of ourselves, our world, and our place and purpose in it.