Q & A with Roger Wagner

Article excerpt

Q: What was your inspiration for HyperStudio?

A: The arrival of the Apple IIGS, one of the most amazing computers to come along, and in some particular ways, never replicated. The IIGS had color available at an affordable price before the Mac or Microsoft-based computers. In addition, it had the potential for recording the user's own voice, and even a MIDI synthesizer with 16 stereo voices. In fact, the musical capability was so radical that the Beatles' Apple Records filed a suit against Apple, and they never put a hardware synthesizer in a computer again. When this remarkable computer appeared, it was compellingly clear that for the first time, a new form of writing could be done where every imaginable form of information could be used, as though from an artist's palette, to explore a subject and tell a story.

Q: What have been the biggest boosts and obstacles to technology-driven education reform?

A: The biggest boost in the past decades has been the combination of highly energetic, enthusiastic, and dedicated educators with funding that supported their vision. Unfortunately, one of the obstacles has been an actual lack of faith in proven educational theories such as constructivism. As the political side of education shifted to an emphasis on test results, and funding for technology was questioned and cut, too many educators, apart from the early pioneers, did not adopt the belief that constructivism and other "educational reform" techniques do improve test scores. Even if the assessment isn't any deeper than a multiple choice test, the truth is that sound educational techniques yield a better educated student and even better test results. …