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Sunday, August 14, 2005

Technology and the Future of Education

My daily newsletter from Darren drew my attention to this particular entry, Shape the future. In it, it referenced a press release titled "How technology may help shape the future of education."

The basic thrust of the press release is a description of a project that uses a variety of technologies, based upon activity theory and the theory of expansive learning pedagogical principles, to try and help students learn science, mathematics, history and environmental awareness better. Basically, they are trying to create a social constructivist learning environment within the classroom through this project.

It reminded me of a series of entries that I made about a month or two ago (see "Is Online Learning the Future?," "Are Superintendents the Problem?," "Virtual Schools on the Internet: Could this Cure Education's Woes?," "What Are Virtual Schools For?," of "The Next Big Thing in Public Education?"). The basic thrust of those entries was questioning whether or not virtual schooling could (or would eventually) change the nature of school (i.e., change the way we teach and students learn). This project, at least in the initial evaluations appears to be having some success in changing the way that these people teach and thus changing the way that the students learn (and from these initial evaluations, having studens learn in a more engaging manner).

For me, this is the real silver bullet for virtual schooling... Changing the system so that students are more engaged in the learning process and are able to essentially learn better due to that increased engagement. My fear for virtual schooling and all of these technology-based projects is summed up in the final sentence of this press release:

And that could mean that educational theory becomes translated into commercial reality.
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