Never Send a Human to Do a Machine’s Job: Correcting the Top 5 EdTech Mistakes by Yong Zhao, Gaoming Zhang, Jing Lei, and Wei Qiu

5. The Wrong Technology Implementation: Top Down Versus Bottom Up

  • Technology use in school is driven by teacher directives and the school’s curriculum. This has also resulted in underuse of the technology available. Technology in the students’ hands is used much more extensively as students find a read audience, find a read outlet for their creativity, and find the freedom to follow their interests. There is also the freedom to learn from failure, which they don’t seem to mind. Students also have to expend extra effort to find what they need. In addition to not allowing much if any free exploration, few teachers put student work online and many schools block content that would provide meaningful learning. They underestimate students’ power of will when they deal with something close to their heart and tend to define technology in a restrictive manner.

6. Making It Right: Reimagining Education in the Second Machine Age

  • The series of failures of new technologies to transform education is due to the fact that they have been used to augment the existing system. A curriculum that requires students to all learn the same things at the same pace is the central reason for the lack of technological transformation. Historically, teachers have owned the knowledge, dispensed it to students, and asked for the students to give it back.
  • Now that the world’s knowledge is freely and easily available to everyone, it is possible to blow up the system and create one with personalized learning as a central feature where the curriculum is negotiated by each student with their teachers. Teachers should stop dispensing knowledge (direct instruction) and leave that to the machines that with endless patience can do it better. Teachers should not compete with Google and YouTube.
  • There is no need to group students by biological age and no need to cram all learning into fixed periods and semesters. Learning should take as long as it takes, which takes failure out of the game. The authors promote a system that encourages entrepreneurialism, creativity, critical thinking and collaboration. Education should not be a preparation for life, it should be life itself.
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