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on February 26, 2015
Interesting analysis of what technology, most particularly on-line technology, might mean for wholly new ways of educating. The book is by now a little dated (2009 is a long time ago for the technologies being discussed) but the ideas are certainly still relevant. One change since 2009 is the continued drop in prices for computers and tablets so that is seems a given that 100% of students will have there own computers. So why are the possibilities being discussed so slow to spread despite continued in advances in both hardware and software? I would suggest that it is not just resistance on the part of entrenched forces in the current education system, but rather the slow emergence of models that optimize the roles that human teachers can best play with the extraordinary advantages in subject learning afforded by computer interactions.
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on September 10, 2015
The book contains numerous insights into the age of technology that is infiltrating our educational institutions. I taught for 46 years (middle school, high school, University, and serving several roles as high school administrator), and I saw the slow advent of technology coming into the educational system. Those conservatives who warn of doom and gloom are not going to be able (and should not be able to stem the tide of "new" methods of teaching. They are right in saying that a number of things will be lost--like handwriting skills, basic arithmetic, are same wrote memory--, however, that is always the case when time marches on. We no longer write in scroll form as people did even 150 years ago; we no longer use the abacus; we no longer use library index cards to do our research. When was the last time someone used a microfiche. Although typewriters are making somewhat of a come-back, few would give up their computers for such a machine. So, yes, we do lose, but we also gain. having said that, there are dangers involved in the new technology. My experience during the last few years that I taught (retired May 2013) was that too many students thought that by having the information on a computer file, they "knew" the material. then, when faced with problem solving, they were bound by their electronics, which only could regurgitate that what was programmed, and not what was not yet conceived. When the Apollo and Saturn V program was underway, my father would say that every day he was doing something that the text books said was impossible.

This book addresses numerous of these issues, and, although published in 2009, the ideas are still somewhat current regarding the impact of technology on the children's' learning processes.
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on June 13, 2011
Collins and Halverson have great depth in the area of education reform. This book not only reviews education's past, it also describes today's present situation in with digital natives being taught by digital immigrants, and it ends with recommendations for education's future.

Despite the diversity that exists within our boundaries, America has always sought to give equality to its fellow man (or woman). Even the Civil War could not destroy this vision. Today's technology age now has the ability to create a "digital divide" because of access to technology, wealth, and race (p. 108). Additionally, as parents become more involved in their children's education they may shelter their children from arts or philosophies that rival their personal beliefs while investing personal money in improving their skills in other areas, hence, increasing the gap between groups of people based on religion and socio-economic status. It has also been noted that the increase in technology also has seen a rise in isolation and depression among technology users. Despite the negatives, the race for education is fierce. Students using technology are more engaged, driven, and have autonomy over their education. Corporation competition is also heating up making a competitive market in tutoring, educational resources, and private schooling. This will only serve to improve education for students. Computers can also individualize education which will help all students, not just those with special needs or those who are gifted. Parents will become more involved in their children's education, a problem that has plagued public education for a long time. With the Internet, students have access to knowledge 24/7. They don't need to hear about studies when they can watch them live or research a topic of their choice. There are positives and negatives to this new wave of technology that has taken education by force.

Collins and Halverson (2009) feel today's youth are already using technology and our current direction with standardized scores driving education is only serving to increase the achievement gap. Two of the ideas discussed are national certification and skill based assessment systems. By creating smaller certifications that are nationally recognized students would have autonomy when it comes to which certification tests they take, when they take the tests, and the topics to research. Skill based assessment systems would utilize computer adaptive technology to rate student ability levels. Combine national certification and interactive testing abilities with a student selected curriculum and you revolutionize a K-12 education into a useful set of skills once graduated. Students will have a resume of nationally recognized certificates when they graduate. This motivation factor has the capability to encourage students to stay in school and lessen the achievement gap.

Furthermore, change among the way schools do business on a daily basis is on the brink of change. As new technologies take form and creative curriculum's come into existence, the way students learn in a traditional classroom is being challenged. Society and the workforce are moving ahead digitally but yet in many classrooms we expect our children to learn in classrooms void of newer technology. We expect kids to put away their own digital devices and learn in the same way their grandparents learned. This is doing our current generation a disservice. Our children's social network is far more advanced than that of their parents. Their interests and pop culture icons are always at their fingertips. Their sophisticated network far outreaches that of other generations. Children and gaming now go hand in hand. These children are developing critical thinking and problem solving skills much faster than originally thought, their language and communication skills are developing more rapidly than earlier generations. Yet our schools have not all caught on to this phenomenon. It is time to tap into the wide array of possibilities that lie ahead for our students and realize the great potential that is at our fingertips.

Collins and Halverson give the overall picture of how technology is changing technology. This book comes highly recommended.

Collins, A. & Halverson, R. (2009). Rethinking education in the age of technology. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
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on June 8, 2011
I read the entire book, but my main focus was Collins chapter 9. I thought that overall the book was fantastic and will really help me as an educator with those technology questions that I have. In this chapter "What Does It All Mean?" it explains why students should use technology and what benefits it gives them and what the parents should be looking for and encouraging in their children with school and technology. This section stated that the emergences of technology based learning environments require parents along with teachers to pay attention to how and what children learn outside of school and the home. Not only can the parents and teachers raise awareness of the new technologies they can also begin to appreciate the range of new skills that kids develop when they get to start using these technologies in school and at home. The chapter also talks about how technology is a large threat to children of school age, but also one of the greatest opportunities that they will have to do what they want. Technology has become an economic engineer that students and parents can use to their advantage. Teachers are being pressured to change their traditional classrooms into ones that integrate technology so that they are not left behind when the students know more about the technology than them. There will still be parts of the traditional classrooms they will just be implemented in different ways, like math homework will still be math homework it will just be done online and scored immediately. The one thing that has school holding back is the funding or lack of it in schools across America.
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on December 24, 2010
Collins and Halverson started a major discussion. The book is very nice to read, but it will not be the last major book on this subject.
I liked the book, because it introduced me to several ideas about the history of American Education. Specially, ideas sponsored by Horace Mann in the XIX century. As I read the book I perceived that a few things are missing in the discussion, but this does not diminishes the value of the book. This book is important to read and most of the reviews are praising the qualities of the book, so I decided to concentrate my review on items that I think are missing or overlooked.

My first observation is that the authors emphasize the impact of gaming and video technology in the future of education. Looks like they are overwhelmed by the idea of using these technologies to improve education. The fact that young people use computers easily is a tribute to the designers of the programs and machines that are being used by all types of consumers. Using a computer is not different than using a telephone. Using a machine is not the same as designing and conceptualizing this sophisticated products. (We must keep the skills to do this... or we will be servants of the technology).

The impact of several technologies like the TV, gaming technology, computers, cell phones are praised, but is missing the impact that the time spent using the same technologies unproductively by people throughout the globe is huge. Everywhere, man and woman are forgetting the people who are close to them, like their families and real friends, and instead of communicating with whom we live for an interaction with a machine or machines (like seeing TV shows, surfing the internet...). I think the best critical view on this, is expressed by the cartoon WALL-E. Wall-E (Single-Disc Edition) It is important to observe this, because education is the way for us to tame the current technology and make it our servant, and not make everybody dependent on it as if it is a type of drug.
Interaction with the real world is necessary, if we don't pay attention to adolescents, they will find something to do with their time, that is not boring, like getting a drug addiction!

Collins and Halverson identify many trends in social behavior that are global today and they are not specific to one country, like the idea that one person will pursue many careers during its productive lifetime. This is not new, this has been happening since the sixties (at least). They identify some of the causes behind this, specially the dislocation of jobs that is related to outsourcing and technological change. This is an important trend, because this is deeply related to a major trend in education identified by the authors, we are in an era of lifetime learning and education. Many people that went through the old school system did adapt well to these conditions in the last 30 years or so. This is a hint that the education problem is not addressed by applying technology and new teaching methods derived from new technologies but preparing people with concepts that are more general and not tied to a specific technology, so that an individual has a frame of reference to learn new techniques, new theories and also be prepared to judge what is the right trend to follow.

The authors concentrated their attention on the possibilities that technology can do to improve education, but missing is the fact that from the 60's until today several techniques were developed to analyze problems so that we could implement computer programs to solve routine problems. These techniques should be better known by teachers and professors because they can be used as part of education. Examples, structured systems analysis and specification, specification or program walkthroughs, program testing methodology. These techniques combined with better knowledge of how the human brain works could help improve the tools that we use for studying and learning. These techniques should be part of disciplines to improve our analytical capabilities and thinking processes.

The other important trend, is one that some thinkers use as a method to be creative, they move away from computer/digital technology and work with pencil and white paper. They will use computers only in the final part, when they will implement the solution. They use simple old concepts that will help the human brain function in its plenitude and produce better results. See for example, a book like Presentation Zen.Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery

The fact that today we can keep zillions of data stored in all types of media and that we can access a lot of facts through several devices, raises new questions. What is important to learn? What shall be the purpose of education in the future? How we keep our capacity of advancing human knowledge when there are so many frontiers to pursue? What should be the human values that we have to instill in the future generations? What kind of impact the lack of parental/teacher attention and excessive use of computerized devices are having on individuals? Some of these questions were raised in the book. The authors did not explore in depth the question of what is important for the newer generations to learn during their education. They mentioned a study by the Labor Dept, the SCANS report, but did not explore it in depth.

I think that Horace Mann had a clear purpose for the task of education in America in the XIX century: to prepare new citizens for a new democracy.
I think the main thing that is missing in this discussion is the identification of the new philosophy behind education in our times. If we identify our objectives better we will find our way. What kind of society we want in the future? How can one participate in the decisions of strategy and policies that will impact all of us?
How our societies will function?
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Technology tactics in the classroom.
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on January 10, 2018
Thought provoking
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on January 3, 2017
An essential resource for thinking about and discussing technology in education. The authors provide a thorough history of what has come regarding schooling and how it is not a good fit with our knowledge society. This book is not outdated; the concepts and critiques are just as relevant today.
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on October 22, 2017
An excellent read. Required for a graduate-level course in Education Technology, but I would gladly have read this book for informative pleasure. Great for anyone trying to put words to all the angst one might feel about what's wrong with America's current education system. Hint: a lot.
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So many exciting changes coming up in our future! This book should aid teacher and parent to think of the electronic devices with which the youngsters are so familiar, as tools...not toys.
You have heard it before but I think it's worth repeating: Our learners use more technology outside of school than they can in school!
This must change and it will change.
In my area many schools already have a BYOD (bring your own device) policy. Find out more by reading this very forward-looking book.
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