The future of digital learning

How can technology help students learn? National Journal’s Education Experts look at the “digital learning gap.” 

The recently launched Digital Learning Council and other groups are working to translate powerful ideas about technology and education to powerful results in the classroom. A minority of schools, such as School of One, are already taking advantage of technology to provide innovative instruction models.

Digital learning will “boost persistence and performance” and make public education more efficient, writes Tom Vander Ark.  

 Virtual options will double in enrollment in the next few years, but most students will learn in blended settings that combine the best of multiple learning modalities. Blended learning hold the promise of extending quality affordable secondary education to more than 500 million young people worldwide.

Sherman Dorn is skeptical. Technology is not a silver bullet, he warns.

 The reality is that the appropriate and inventive use of technology in education is as much of a tough slog as anything else in a classroom.

. . . In addition, I worry about “technological individualization” becoming one more boondoggle that diverts scarce resources to vendors who are far better at marketing than at programming or education. Experienced teachers around the country are already familiar with district administrators and governing boards who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on bells-and-whistles programs that would supposedly save hundreds of hours of time… and ended up being useless.

“Technology should be in the service of solid instruction and not the other way around,” Dorn concludes.

On Education Next, Mark Bauerlein critiques “the century-old child-centered premises at the root of the techno-pedagogy vision,” in response to Connie Yowell, a digital learning enthusiast.

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