Magazine article Technology & Learning

Q&A with Chris Dede

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Q&A with Chris Dede

Article excerpt

Q: What do you see as the biggest reform needed in pre-service education, especially when it comes to technology?

A: I believe the greatest challenge facing educators is empowering students to master such 21st century skills as understanding and resolving complex, novel situations; collaborating with a diverse team both face-to-face and across distance; and producing knowledge by filtering and synthesizing information. This requires fluency in information technology for collaboration, information synthesis, and decision making. Schools of education should make these types of learning experiences central to teachers' preparation.

Q: Tell us more about the educational simulation you're studying.

A: The River City virtual "world" is typical of the United States in the late 19th century; we use museum artifacts to illustrate building exteriors and street scenes from that period. Students work in teams to develop hypotheses regarding strands of illness in the city. Information about the diseases is integrated with historical, social, and geographical content, so students experience the realities of disentangling multi-causal problems within a complex environment. We're studying the program's usability, student motivation, student learning, and classroom implementation issues. The results thus far are promising; we are now beginning large-scale studies.

Q: What else are you working on?

A: With Eric Klopfer at MIT, my colleagues and I are working on augmented reality simulations. For example, in the "Environmental Detectives" simulation, students play environmental scientists investigating health concerns linked to toxins in the water supply. …

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