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Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology

Chapter Summaries

Katie Hill

on 9 July 2013

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Transcript of Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology

Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology
Chapter Summaries

Chapter 1 - How Education is Changing
Gone are the days when people were confined to the four walls of a learning institution. Students are now able to "decide what they want to learn, when they want to learn, and how they want to learn" (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p. 3). New technologies are allowing people around the world to pursue learning "on their own terms" (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.3). The structure of the American schooling system has remained largely unchained since it's creation during the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. However, just like the Industrial Revolution which brought drastic change to America, including it's way of schooling children, so will this new Information Revolution that is happening now. More learning is once again taking place outside of the classroom, instead taking place in homes, and workplaces and internet cafes across our country which is being driven by advancements in technology.
Chapter 2 - The Technology Enthusiasts' Argument
Many educators and technologists have made predictions as to how the processes of teaching and learning will be transformed by the new information technologies. There are two main arguments as to why new technologies will revolutionize schools. First, is as the world is changing schooling also needs to change in order to prepare students for this changing world. Second, the new technologies give us the enhanced capabilities for education learners and schools need to embrace them (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.9).
The world is changing in both how we think and how we communicate and therefore schools must change as well. It used to be that plows and wheels where the "tools of the trade" but they have been replaced by the computer that "empowers men's minds rather than their bodies" (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.10). Now instead of being able to grow your own food, people need to be able to "develop skills to find information, evaluate its usefulness and quality and synthesize the information they glean from different resources" (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.10). Computer tools extend the power of the ordinary mind like the power tools of the Industrial Revolution extended the power of the ordinary body (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.11).
Chapter 2 - The Technology Enthusiasts' Argument continued.....
The way we communicate is changing. We are moving from "communities of place" to "communities of interest" and the computer/Internet is leading the charge. It is allowing people to communicate with others of like interest with relative ease. This allows people to connect with others from across the globe but may alienate them from their geographical community. It is important that student know how to communicate using technology such as social networking, email, chatting, etc. because this is becoming more and more part of the everyday life.
To prepare students to communicate in this emerging world requires not simply the traditional reading and writing, but learning how to communicate using different media with people who do not share the same assumptions. New technologies have increased capabilities for learners. "Putting students in situations where computer tools are necessary to solve complexe problems will kickstart schools to change basic instructional practices" (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.13). There are a variety of these capabilities such as "just-n-time learning, customization, learner control, interaction, scaffolding, games and simulation, multimedia, publication and reflection" that allow learners to use computer and technology as they learn and increase motivation and engagement (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.14-26).
Technology enthusiasts envision schools where students are working on realistic tasks while adults play a supportive role to guide them to new activities and help them when they encounter problems (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.29). This is vastly different from what we see today in most schools and many skeptics have argued that it is impossible or extremely difficult to change.
Chapter 3 - The Technology Skeptics' Argument continued....
Other barriers to technology integration in schools include: cost and access, classroom management, what computer's can't teach, challenges to instruction, authority and teaching and assessment (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.44). In addition to the barriers, the following incompatibilities make it "unlikely that technology will have a large impact on schools in the foreseeable future" (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.43). Uniform learning vs. customization is the argument between everyone learning the same standards and objectives vs. the "new" way of customizing a lesson or unit or objectives to meet the individual needs, desires or passion's of each student. Viewing the teacher as an expert vs. allowing for diverse knowledge sources for learning goes against the grain of current practices. Standardized high-stakes assessment vs. specialization is a barrier because we currently treat all students the same when it comes to assessment. The additional work that it requires to make these assessments specialized is daunting. A few more arguments include: owning knowledge vs. mobilizing outside resources, coverage vs. knowledge explosion, learning by assimilation vs. learning by doing (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.35-47).
Chapter 3 - The Technology Skeptics' Argument
Although most are excited about the many possibilities of technology in education, there are also skeptics who question its authentic use for educational purposes. Technology has definitely changed over time but at a very slow pace. David described the interlocking and self-sustaining school system as a jigsaw puzzle. It is difficult to introduce a radically different curriculum or teaching strategy that isn't similar to the current curriculum or strategy (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.34). Over time, all the parts of the system have become so interwoven that any change can cause ripple effects in the other parts and these parts often "push back". A change in curriculum affects not only the teacher's classroom, but their peer's, the grading system used, the technology purchases, the way technology is purchased and a whole host of other parts. .
Most education reforms fail for a few reasons. First, teaching and learning practices are currently attempting to "persuade clients to improve their own well-being by submitting to the established practices of the profession" (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.35). This is almost impossible to achieve in the current public school setting and teachers are reluctant to give up any ground gained by trying some new idea or technology. Second the establishment backs up the teacher's resistance to change by being often unwilling to change itself. The following three strategies were developed to address innovative technologies without influencing the traditions of teaching and learning: condemning, co-opting, and marginalizing (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.36).
Chapter 4 - The Development of American Schooling
Chapter 4 - The Development of American Schooling continued....
Chapter 5 - The Seeds of a New System of Education
Chapter 6 - The Three Eras of Education
Chapter 7 - What May Be Lost and What May Be Gained
Chapter 8 - How Schools Can Cope with the New Technologies
Chapter 8 - How Schools Can Cope with the New Technologies continued....
It is believed that four major events changed the American school system. First, the invention of the printing press allowed for a huge expansion in knowledge and therefore what children needed to know to succeed in the world. Second, the Reformation brought along the idea that people could read for themselves and gain knowledge over "the authority of tradition" (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.51). Thirdly, the American Revolution provided an opportunity to create a new institution of learning in this new county. Lastly, the Industrial Revolution brought about the urbanization of American and the need for thousands of children to be educated and basically given something to do so they wouldn't roam the streets. In addition, certain knowledge was needed that wasn't needed prior and that parents couldn't give. This took educating of children away from parents and gave it to the government. It quickly become "the way" to educate a child (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.56).
Horace Mann, David Tyack, William Torrey Harris and others played a huge role in structuring the school into classrooms and grade levels and universities that we have today. Laws were enacted and needs arose that introduced compulsory attendance, graded schools, tests, textbooks, Carnegie units, and comprehensive high schools yielding us the system we have today (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.62).
Demands on the school have changed as well. Schools are now the primary source of the "adultification" of youth. An increase in life span, decline of the birthrate and increasing diversity of the American population have added to the difficulties of our schools (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.64). More parents are opting for parochial schools for their children. In addition the exponential growth of knowledge makes it difficult for schools to keep up.
Chapter 9 - What Does It All Mean?
Chapter 10 - Rethinking Education in a Technological World
As new technology driven seeds germinate, education will occur in many different, more adaptive venues, and schools will have a narrower role in learning (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.66). A "possible future trend is home schooling becoming a mass movement as parents use technology to pool resources to provide education for their children" (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.68). Homeschooling would put the responsibility for educating children more on the parent but children will not be learning a standard content or values. Another place that you might see change in education come from is the workplace environment. More and more businesses are providing opportunities for their employees to be trained using computers in interactive learning programs to simulate real life scenarios (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.71). Other places that education and learning may stem from other than in a classroom include: Distance education opportunities, adult education, learning centers, educational television, computer based software, technical certifications, and internet cafes (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.67-90). While the more traditional school of learning will continue, these "seeds" are likely to become more prominent as places students learn.
Having experienced the apprenticeship era of learning and the universal-school era of learning we are now entering the lifelong-learning era of learning. The titles of the section help identify the progression of eras by labeling various categories. They are self-explanatory and indicate a shift in the thinking of these various areas and how they have progressed and are progressing. A concern as the era of lifelong-learning takes and a stronger hold is the fact that there will always be learners who are unwilling to unable to take advantage of the technologies (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.104). In the present lifelong-learner era, responsibility for education is shifting away from the state and back to the parents. People will be able to choose for themselves what kid of education they will obtain. People will have to keep learning new knowledge and skills throughout their lifetimes, as their lives and jobs keep changing. The pedagogy of the lifelong-learning era is evolving toward reliance on interaction. Summative and formative assessment begin to converge particularly in computer-based learning environments. We are approaching the era when people can engage in just-in-time learning anytime and anywhere. In general, as education becomes a lifelong activity, there are likely to be more situations where adults and children are learning together. Lifelong learning restores some of the relationship characteristics of apprenticeship learning. Interest-based learning thrives when participants develop multiple connections across learning communities. The authors feel that in the lifelong-learning era people interested in advancing their own learning will begin to take back responsibility for education from the state (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p. 91-104).

A few things may be lost when moving into this lifelong learner era. First, equity of access is a concern. All students are included giving all students the opportunity to succeed. However, the lack of access to technology may cause a wider gap in the digital divide (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.107). Parents who are financially fit will have the money which will give their children advantages that children low economic backgrounds may not have. There may also be a decline in the education of liberal arts as education becomes more centered on the individual. Children may be very limited in the occupations they consider, because their parents may try to limit their children's choices due to their choices being limited in societies before the spread of schooling. Finally, people may become isolated as more and more learning is coming from a computer instead of interacting with others (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.106-109).
Great gains will be made as we move into this lifelong learner era. Learning will become more engaging for students. In addition, computers will customize education to the particular needs of students which will make learning more individualized. Knowledge will be accessible at any time. Competition in schools will be diminished because students will not be competing among each other but working together to solve problems. Also the responsibility of learning will revert back to the family and the individual instead of the school (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.110). It is the authors' hope that as more children and adults become aware of how critical education is to sucess, more and more segments of society will avail themselves of new opportunities that these technology-based resources make possible (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p. 11)..
In order to effectively incorporate technology into schools, educators must first understand the imperatives of the technologies that are driving The Knowledge Revolution. This revolution has encapsulated three imperatives of technology: customization, interaction and learner control. Schools must realize that any implementation of technology must include these imperatives. The authors propose several areas for policy development that schools can implement in order to take advantage of these new technological advancements.
First, performance based assessments should be implemented. The authors call for national certification standards that will a set of national credentials that could be administered by a computer or trained professional at any school or learning center. People would take these exams for certification whenever they were ready. There would be certain credentials that one must "pass" in order to received certification in each field (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.114). As a student progresses through school they would pick the certifications needed to achieve a degree in the field of their choosing. These certifications would be in academic, generic and technical. In elementary and middle school students would continue much as they are presently but with the focus being on building a basis for credential requirements instead of Carnegie units. In high school they would choose a more specific career path and gather the credentials and certificates needed to move onto the college level in their chosen path of study(Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.114).
The certifications would be determined by students completing computer adaptive testing systems. By adjusting for what they student knows or doesn't know there will be extensive data that could assist both the learner and instructor's for future assessments. It will also"help capture the kinds of knowledge and skills required for learning in the professions" (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.114). It will also be used together with certification systems to focus educational discussion on the outcome of learning (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.116). Students would create portfolio's of credentials for purposes of employment or college applications.
In addition to performance based assessments, there would be a need for new curriculum designs. The authors suggest placing students in curricula based on their interest not on their age or grade level. Students will be encourage to stick with a particular curriculum "for a long time" (Collins & Halverson, 2009) so as to get an in depth knowledge and understanding. Students would enter a a curricula and work with others as a novice, then progress to working on larger projects, then progress to being a mentor,the lastly to being leader on the large projects (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.117). The state would pay for a certain number of certificates and then people would take additional courses whenever they are ready so you would have a variety of ages in one courses who share an interest in the given topic (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.118).
Another design calls for high schools to be based around professional practices instead of "antiquated" (Collins & Halverson, 2009) forms of thought. Game-based learning technologies could be instrumental in students learning the values, beliefs, strategies, etc of their particular chosen profession (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.118).
The authors offer suggestions to parents and teachers to bridge the generation gap that exists between young people when it comes to integrating technology into existing practices. First, "technology literacy begins at home" (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.117). The authors suggest allowing children to teach their parents how to play video games. Another suggestion is to encourage children to join online communities that share their own interests. This allows them to gain knowledge and communication skills along with connections that will help them to pursue their interest as they get older (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.117).
Technology has changed the lives of children. From television to iPods it has infiltrated every facet of their life from what they read to what they say. The pressure to change the classroom with computing is coming from outside the classroom (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.127). The authors suspect that the schooling system will eventually be dragged reluctantly into a new technologically rich education system (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p. 127).
The authors' "vision of education in this book is structured around the idea of lifelong learning" (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.130). Lifelong learning requires moving away from highly structured schooling institutions to instead act as consumers of a wide variety of learning experiences. Using social networking sites and online communities students can get the support and knowledge they need to succeed in the professional field of their choosing (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.131). The authors also call on education to "rethink motivation" (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.131). They suggest this can be done by giving the learner more control over what they learn and when. Learners can also be encourage to explore areas in which they are interested. Also motivation can be increased by students designing and producing projects and assignments that have value to themselves and others (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.132). Other areas that we need to rethink according to the authors are: what is important to learn, careers, careers, transitions between learning and work, educational leadership, and the role of government in education (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.133-144). The authors end with a call for technology leaders to work together with educators to create new opportunities to learn.
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