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Effort to Debunk Education Technology Falters by Overstating Its Own Case

In a new book titled “Failure to Disrupt: Why Technology Alone Can’t Transform Education”, Justin Reich, director of MIT’s Teaching Systems Lab, argues for realistic expectations of what education technology can and cannot achieve. Reich’s argument is based on four questions:

1) How will existing stakeholders use the technology, and will it help them extend their current practices?

2) What kinds of learning can and cannot be assessed with it?

3) How will learners from different backgrounds and circumstances access it?

4) How could research and experimentation improve the product?

The answer to each question highlights a significant limitation of education technology. In this review, Michael B. Horn argues that Reich’s pessimism about edtech goes too far, and that we should be hopeful about edtech’s prospects for positive changes.


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