Technology

Why Technology Alone Can’t Fix the Education Problem

Thursday, February 06, 2014 Comment kids sitting at classroom desk working on music media on ipads

For more than a decade now, I’ve internally cringed whenever someone talks about the promise of technology in education. Often, discussions of iPads, video games, laptops for all focus on the potential of access to the software, device, or app rather than how it’s used. In 1999, my department at UC Santa Barbara decided that all lecturers would hold classes in campus computer labs to demonstrate our progressiveness. We received no training. There was no brainstorming about lessons. We were given no information about the specs of the computer labs. Space was reserved and we were


Re-imagining the Where, When, and How of Educational Practice

Monday, February 03, 2014 Comment students using multi touch screen on wall

“Well, I guess in all honesty I would have to say that I never knew nor did I ever hear of anybody that money didn’t change.” (Cormac McCarthy, No Country For Old Men) Last month, I was at Bett, the annual educational technology and training show. It was a feast for the senses: I saw higher-pixel displays that supposedly ‘improve learning,’ multi-touch screens to ‘transform educational experiences,’ and (of course!) tablet devices were presented as a panacea for, well, everything. The irony was that the venue was simultaneously hosting the EAG Amusement and Leisure Show. If


Wanted: A New Generation of Problem Solvers

Sunday, June 16, 2013 Comment close up of problem solving mind challenging games

It has been more than a decade since Marc Prensky popularized the term “digital natives” to describe young people’s inherent connection with digital technologies, and while students may be able to successfully navigate these technologies to accomplish everyday tasks, researchers such as Ugochi Acholonu are exploring the extent to which this theory holds true when it comes to a student’s ability to innovate using technology.   Acholonu tested this theory by asking a group of community college students, ages 18-20 who had grown up in technology inclusive environments, to complete a set of problems on paper.


A Collaborative Guide to Best Digital Learning Practices for K-12

Monday, April 09, 2012 Comment picture taken through a window of teacher helping student with work

Below you will find a collaboratively written document produced in Bangkok, Thailand, at the March 28-31 teacher’s meeting of EARCOS, the East Asia Regional Council of Schools.  EARCOS is an organization of 130 primary and secondary schools that primarily use English as the language of instruction.  These include AP and IB schools and a number of other private schools.  We produced the document below on a public Google doc at a workshop, which I structured on the model of an “innovation challenge” of the kind that web developers use to bring together communities to complete a


The Ethics and Responsibilities of the 21st Century Classroom: Part One

Monday, April 02, 2012 Comment lecture hall full of students

When I think about the “ethics and responsibilities of the 21st century classroom,” I think not only about our ethical responsibilities toward students but about our ethical responsibilities toward teachers.  I am very concerned that the drop-out rate of K-12 teachers is even higher than the drop-out rate of K-12 students in the U.S. and in many other countries around the world.  As I’ve gone around the U.S. and abroad talking with teachers, I’ve seen over and over how beleaguered they are: by (a) too many rules, (b) too many constantly-changing systems and theories, by (c)


Reflecting on Dharun Ravi’s Conviction

Monday, March 19, 2012 Comment artistic black and white photo of man looking through shades blinds

On Friday, Dharun Ravi — the Rutgers student whose roommate Tyler Clementi killed himself in a case narrated through the lens of cyberbullying — was found guilty of privacy invasion, tampering with evidence, and bias intimidation (a hate crime).  When John Palfrey and I wrote about this case three weeks ago, I was really hopeful that the court proceedings would give clarity and relieve my uncertainty.  Instead, I am left more conflicted and deeply saddened.  I believe the jury did their job, but I am not convinced that justice was served.  More disturbingly, I think the


Stop the Cycle of Bullying

Friday, February 24, 2012 Comment black and white photograph of man looking through window blinds

On 22 September 2010, the wallet of Tyler Clementi – a gay freshman at Rutgers University – was found on the George Washington Bridge; his body was found in the Hudson River the following week.  His roommate, Dharun Ravi, was charged with 15 criminal counts, including invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, and tampering with witnesses and evidence tampering.  Ravi pleaded not guilty. Ravi’s trial officially begins this week, but in the court of public opinion, he has already been convicted.  This is a terrible irony, since the case itself is about bullying. Wading through the news reports, it’s


Participation, Technology, and the Power of Sharing

Monday, September 20, 2010 Comment people celebrating and hi fiving in conference room

This year’s convention of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH) attracted more than 20,000 programmers, artists, researchers, filmmakers, and gaming professionals – as well as students and academics from almost 80 countries.  Apparently SIGGRAPH is also promising to transform contemporary education. Most came to SIGGRAPH to see the newest products in computer graphics and interactive technologies, which were hawked by the 160 exhibitors vying for the audience’s attention on the 46,000-square-foot floor of the Los Angeles Convention Center.  It was a prime location, close to many Los Angeles