Magazine article Technology & Learning

Q&A with Tom Snyder

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Q&A with Tom Snyder

Article excerpt

Q: What has been the biggest turning point in education technology over the past 25 years?

A: Simple--the word processor. Sometimes the Guttenberg revolution is described as an innovation of "moveable type." That deserved being a revolution. Now with word processing, we have a new revolution, which I will call the innovation of the "unbelievably moveable type."

Q: In what ways has technology failed us in education?

A: It kind of did a strange double-edged sword trick. It reinvigorated discussions of pedagogy in the West. Instead of Vygotsky (a Russian developmental psychologist whose work in the early 1900s had a profound influence on education) sitting on the back shelf, suddenly esoterics were sexy and had a new life. That was good. For instance, the appearance of Logo refreshed discussions about constructivism, narrative, etc.

On the other hand, technology distracted even very sensible and intuitive teachers from insisting on what they have always known, which is that after the dust settles, the most important element in schools is the teacher and his or her relationship to groups of kids.

Q: What has been the most essential change driven by technology in education?

A: Software has enabled the notion of honoring student work, as in the portfolio area. …

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