Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology

by Bruce Kasanoff on June 14, 2010

(Book review) – In the midst of chaos, it’s so valuable to discover a calm, assured voice that helps you regain control and sort out what to do next. Allan Collins and Richard Halverson provide that voice for everyone concerned about our educational system.

Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and Schooling in America
asks more questions than it answers, but knowing which questions to answer is essential, especially when our educational system is broken but there is no consensus how to fix it.

The authors agree with Clayton Christensen, John Seely Brown, John Hagel and others that change comes from the edges of markets. In education, that means home schooling, workplace learning, distance education, adult education, learning centers, educational television and videos, computer-based learning software, technical certifications and Internet cafes. These are the places where technology already allows customized and individualized learning.

Public schools are going to change last. By the time they do, substantial portions of our students will already be educated in a manner distinctly different from today’s system. The authors are cautious in predicting how exactly things will change, but they make it clear the change is underway.

This is a call for visionaries to step up and lead. I especially value the book because it provides a framework that will allow innovators from other industries to understand what is happening in education, and to jump in and help drive many changes.

Best of all, the book explains why we have the educational system we do today, what role it plays, and how disconnected that role seems to be from what lies ahead. It is well worth reading.

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