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Never Send a Human to Do a Machine's Job: Correcting the Top 5 EdTech Mistakes

5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1452282572
ISBN-10: 1452282579
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Editorial Reviews


“Yong Zhao and his team have written a book that challenges the ideas not of how technology can make teaching better, but of how technology can create schools that are truly learner-centered. They focus not only on what technology could do better, but how the human element of schools is still needed now more than ever."

(George Couros, Division Principal, Innovative Teaching, Learning, and Leadership Consultant)

"Dr. Yong Zhao continues to push educators’ thinking by taking a serious examination of the role technology has played (or hasn’t) in education in the last 30 years. The struggles he lays out are those that many are trying to overcome on an almost daily bases. The new thinking in this book needs to be read by those in the classroom and leaders alike." 

(Steven W. Anderson, Author)

"This book masterfully address the issues related to technology integration in schools. Dr. Zhao artfully navigates through the misconception of technology as the ultimate solution to the challenges of teaching. The book provides useful examples of the successful marriage good instruction and good technology can have when properly balanced."

(Jared Covili, Author of Going Google and Classroom in the Cloud)

"In the final chapter, Zhao shines a spotlight on the need to leverage the voice of the STUDENTS (#stuvoice) in our classrooms as an asset to our own evolving connected capacities as adults. The development of social media in today’s world is constant, and each day our students bring with them rich cultures and talents into our classrooms. Zhao identifies this ripe space for innovation to be infused, but a culture shift is necessary on the part of adults. It’s not about the tools but the people. Students need to be empowered and teachers (and especially school leaders) need to relinquish some control. We can breed innovation or stifle innovation here." (Dr. Joe_Mazza, Leadership Innovation Manager)

"Never Send a Human to Do A Machine’s Job is simultaneously an historical look at the myriad disappointments of technology in education over the past few decades and a vision for a future of a more personalized and product-filled educational experience. The vision provided in the book is realistic, well researched, and highly relevant to the needs of today’s learner. It is time to totally reimagine education. Are you ready?"

(Curtis J. Bonk, Professor/President)

"At this critical junction for education technology, we need voices like Yong Zhao’s. Never Send a Human combines a historical perspective on past failures with forward-thinking solutions, and his narration is eloquent all along the way. This book is transformational in its vision of teachers and tech working side-by-side for students."

(Angela Maiers, Educator, Author, and Founder of Choose2Matter)

"Dr. Zhao's instructional technology expertise shines brightly in this book. He does a wonderful job of describing the various ways in which educators and policymakers have misframed digital technologies to the detriment of their learning potential for students. Replete with numerous ways to think our way back out of our self-inflicted integration challenges, this book offers hope to those of us who are ready to reimagine the power of learning technologies in our schools."

(Dr. Scott McLeod, Director of Innovation and Founding Director)

"Yong Zhao and his colleagues have written a valuable guide to the uses and misuses of technology in classrooms. They strip away all the false promises and hollow rhetoric and offer a clear framework for using technology in ways that allow students to create, not consume." 

(Tony Wagner, author of Creating Innovators and The Global Achievement Gap)

About the Author

Yong Zhao currently serves as the Presidential Chair and Director of the Institute for Global and Online Education in the College of Education, University of Oregon, where he is also a Professor in the Department of Educational Measurement, Policy, and Leadership. He is also a professorial fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Health and Education Policy, Victoria University. His works focus on the implications of globalization and technology on education. He has published over 100 articles and 20 books, including Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the WorldCatching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization and World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students. He is a recipient of the Early Career Award from the American Educational Research Association and was named one of the 2012 10 most influential people in educational technology by the Tech & Learn Magazine. He is an elected fellow of the International Academy for Education. His latest book World Class Learners has won several awards including the Society of Professors of Education Book Award (2013), Association of Education Publishers’ (AEP) Judges’ Award and Distinguished Achievement Award in Education Leadership(2013).

See flyers for Zhao's books Never Send a Human to Do a Machine's Job and the World Class Learners bundle.

Gaoming Zhang is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at the University of Indianapolis. She teaches educational psychology and educational technology courses in undergraduate and graduate programs. Her research interests include technology integration, teacher preparation, and comparative education. Her work has appeared in On the Horizon, the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher EducationAsia Pacific Journal of Education, Educause Review, and the International Encyclopedia of Education.

Jing Lei is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at Syracuse University. Dr. Lei’s scholarship focuses on how information and communication technology can help prepare a new generation of citizens for a globalizing and digitizing world. Specifically, her research interests include technology integration in schools, the social-cultural and psychological impact of technology, e-learning, emerging technologies for education, and teacher technology preparation. Her recent publications include Handbook of Asian Education: A Cultural Perspective (2011, Routledge) and The Digital Pencil: One-to-One Computing for Children (2008, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates publishers).

Wei Qiu is an instructional designer and adjunct faculty at Webster University. She received a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology from Michigan State University. Her research interests include using technology to enhance students’ learning experience, second language education, and global competency development. 


Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Corwin (August 6, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452282579
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452282572
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #773,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Yong Zhao et al: Never send a human to do a machine’s job.

This book is a timely reminder to the next generation of teachers and school administrators about two key issues in education: the human bits, and the technological bits.

Yong Zhao’s Introduction starts with an excellent statement about cyclic amnesia in the history of technological change in education. He noted: “Every cycle started with amazing euphoria and then ended with disappointing outcomes. But somehow we managed to forget the failures. We did not even stop to reflect what went wrong because new technology emerged with more power, and more hope”.
The chapters in this book address five mistaken approaches in the previous introductions of technological innovation into schools:
1. We misconstrued the relationship between teachers and technology, which was predicated on the belief that technology would replace or at least aid the teacher.
2. Technology is seen as a method to help students consume knowledge. The authors see technology as a tool to aid productive creativity.
3. In the context of high stakes testing and accountability educational technology is limited to a traditional instructional role.
4. Another limitation is the belief that technological competence in schools is seen as an educational outcome in its own right, not as tools to create a new world.
5. Teachers’ PD is often seen as mechanical or software competence, instead of addressing students’ needs and educational and societal futures.

In every change timing is everything, and this issue is addressed on page 111.

The book is an easy read, and it forces the reader to examine the future of education as we know it- with subtle reminders about enhancing students’ humanness and creativity.

I loved the book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book shows how the promise of new technological advancements have failed in the classroom. The authors show that Technology in the classroom should be used to explore new ideas and create solutions to real problems.
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Met him at a concert. He says what I have known for years? Teach for interest and a wide range of possible outcomes will result.
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