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Fast Company Probes Education Technology Revolution

According to the cover story in the latest issue of Fast Company, gadgets from iPhones to the OLPC XO laptop are engaging the young students of...


According to the cover story in the latest issue of Fast Company, gadgets from iPhones to the OLPC XO laptop are engaging the young students of today on a far more interactive level than the once-breakthrough Sesame Street ever did for our generation.

In fact, among other changes that the proliferation of a techno-savvy may hasten in education is the role of the teacher. According to Seth Weinberger, founder of the non-profit Innovations for Learning and developer of a handheld device called the TeacherMate, which is being used in locales such as Chicago, Baja, Rwanda, India, South Korea, and Palestine: "The main transformational change that needs to happen is for the teacher to transform from the purveyor of information to the coach."

Which means that not only will educational reform in the U.S. involve Races to the Top and fights over teacher tenure, there will also be tension between those seeking technological solutions to learning and those who prefer more traditional methods, as author Anya Kamenetz concludes:
The same possibilities that make these technologies so exciting ... make them threatening to the educational status quo. A system built around tools that allow children to explore and figure things out for themselves would be radical for most developing-world schools, which emphasize learning by rote. In the United States, which is currently so in love with state curriculum benchmarks and standardized tests, it could be just as hard a sell.

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