I’ve been involved with the awkward dance between education and technology since lugging a stack of Fortran punch cards to the computer center in college on my way to a BS in Mechanical Engineering. Since then, I’ve been a writer, produced video games, virtual worlds and animation, earned an MS in Education Technology, and taught online graduate courses in instructional design and EdTech (I still teach and spend the rest of my time as an instructional designer). Over this time, I’ve watched as computers, fiber connections and “educational” software have been dumped onto schools with the idea that this tech would somehow magically fix what ails them. While many teachers have been heroic in their efforts to wedge technology into their curriculum, it still hasn’t significantly changed how students learn.
Education technology is like a whale sitting on the edge of a cliff. There’s incredible potential energy and we just need enough Ahab’s to come together to shove it over edge (ok, odd analogy, but you know what I mean). Everyone jabbers on about education reform, but reform implies that the structure itself is fine and just needs a new coat of paint and some throw pillows. I side with Christensen in that we need to completely disrupt the system cause it ain’t workin’. Instead of using technology to throw a few videos and slide shows at students in hopes of rousting them from their pedagogic daze, we need to engage students in completely new ways, add relevancy and immediacy to their world and empower them to take control of their own learning. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s a pretty tall order, but hell, since I can’t be Pete Yorn, what else do I have to do?