Instructional Technology/Jim Finn

Jim FinnEdit

Jim Finn was the earliest contributor of the development of modern IT field. His ideas and studies related to audio-visual field and the field’s professionalism was one of the critical scholar paradigm shifts to IT. He was believed as a person who changed the role of audio visual professionals’ role from support to leader ship and innovation. According to Januszewski (2001) Finn played one the key role for the shaping of the IT field because: (a) he was established the first academic department officially designated Instructional Technology, (b) he supervised many doctoral students in IT and most of them were involved in the development of the field, (c) he consulted to U.S. Office of Education where he could get funds for the major projects, (d) he not only consulted also worked with other major institutions for more AV education projects. In fact, it is easily observed that Finn spent his life to construct a professional field in the world of science. To understand Finn’s efforts related to field, his identification about six characteristics of a profession (Finn, 1953) was a good summary. By establishing an academic department and supervising doctoral students, he was successful to develop an intellectual technique and designs for applications, and a long period of training of a profession. With the funds and major project supported by both Office of Education and other institutions, the designs for applications were utilized in real situations. Based on them, a field’s standards and a statement of ethics and organized body of intellectual theory which are the advanced criteria for a profession were created and expanded. The interaction between the academic department and the projects which he conducted created a cycle that enhanced the professional development of IT and was source of members that were part of the professional organizations fostering communication for future improvements.

Another point for Finn’s contribution was system foundation of IT. He believed that programming prescriptive explanation of system view was very important concept for education and an intellectual technique to make audio visual field a profession (Januszewski, 2001). Moreover, this concept was as important as for educational technology. In his writings related to automation and education, Finn (1957) emphasized the concept of system and programming for the development of the profession. Hence, he combined four concepts: (a) system, (b) control of information to long range scientific analysis, (c) need for wise decisions and (d) high technology together. In other words, every long range scientific analysis and wise decisions enhances accumulation of knowledge of the field in a system or controlled environment. These accumulations can be easily connected to high technology or state-of-art improvement with automation process.


  • Finn, J. (1953). Professionalizing the audio-visual field. In D. P. Ely & Plomp T. (Eds.), Classic Writings on Instructional Technology (Vol. 1, pp. 231 – 241). Englewood: Libraries Unlimited, Inc.
  • Finn, J. D. (1957). Automation and education: I. General aspects. . AV Communication Review, 5(1), 343-360.
  • Januszewski, A. (2001). Educational Technology: The Development of a Concept. Englewood, Colorado: Libraries Unlimited, Inc.