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Classroom technology shouldn't drive reform, education innovator says at University of Oklahoma

by Silas Allen Published: February 20, 2013
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In some ways, he said, the rapid development of technology has changed the dynamic between teacher and student. In the past, educators tended to resist new technology, at least in part because of worries about seeming awkward in the face of something new. In the past, when a teacher had trouble operating a new piece of equipment, it made students uncomfortable, he said.

Now, he said, technology is developing quickly enough that most people regularly encounter a cellphone app or computer program that they haven't seen before.

“It's no longer a stigma,” he said.

That shift has led some teachers to put students in charge of classroom technology through programs like one-to-one laptops. Meanwhile, the teacher remains in charge of instruction.

Education leaders are still trying to find a good working relationship between technology and instruction, Fullan said. Whatever that solution is, he said, classroom technology must be part of a clear, focused plan for the educational system, whether that system is an individual district or an entire state or province.

Without any kind of direction, he said, classroom technology is simply a tool without a reason for existing.

“A fool with a tool is still a fool,” he said. “And a fool with a powerful tool is actually dangerous.”