Connecting With The Twenty-First Century: Technology In Support Of Educational Reform


Kozma, R.B. & Schank, P. (1998). Connecting with the twenty-first century: Technology in support of educational reform. In D. Palumbo & C. Dede (Eds.), Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development 1998 Yearbook: Learning and Technology, pp. 3-27. Alexandria, VA: American Society for Curriculum Development.


Over the past decade, there have been a number of recognized deficiencies with our current approach to schooling, deficiencies that must be addressed if our students are to be prepared for work and life in the next century (Resnick, 1987). In this chapter we present a vision for twenty-first century education in which these deficiencies are addressed. We present an alternative image of what schools might be like and a set of interlocking social, pedagogical and technological changes that could transform the educational enterprise.

Currently, the emphasis in schools is on individual learning and performance—what students can do by themselves without the aid of other students or external supports, such as books, notes, calculators, and computers. True, from time to time students get to use computers in the back of the classroom and there are occasional group activities but when it comes down to it, students are ultimately judged on their solo performance on tests and assignments. Schools stress the learning of specific facts and generalized principles outside of the context of their use in the real world and apart from the value, needs, or interests that children may bring with them to the classroom. Finally, American schools are organized in assembly-line fashion with the curriculum divided neatly into subjects, taught in predictable units of time, arranged sequentially by grade and controlled by standardized tests intended to weed out defective units and return them for reworking.

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