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"Will Technology Really Change Education?"Will Technology Change Learning? Teachers Are The Ones With The Answer, New Book Says

August 9, 1999 -- Computers are staples in classrooms nationwide. But does technology improve the quality of education children receive?

"Will Technology Really Change Education?" examines how the computer and new technologies are being used in K-12 classrooms and in teacher-preparation programs at colleges and universities. Authors Todd W. Kent, an associate director of the teacher-preparation program at Princeton University, and Robert F. McNergney, a professor at the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education, say that ultimately teachers will be the ones who determine how extensively computers will be used in classroom learning.

Technology can influence and change interactions between teachers and students, say the authors in their book commissioned by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and published by Corwin Press. Technology can help teachers create greater individualized lesson plans for students.

It also offers unlimited potential for student-directed learning. Because of this, some schools are considering giving students laptops instead of textbooks, the authors say.

"As human knowledge continues a pattern of increasing specialization, technology may be the only recourse for managing the rapid growth of information," the authors write. "Technology could transform the most basic tools used by teachers, and this transformation might also create radically new types of learning environments."

Offering a world of information, computers and new technologies may eventually eliminate the need to have physical school facilities, some educators say. Instead, education specialists would help guide students with their self-directed searches. Similarly, some educators see the need for institutions of higher education waning as individuals increasingly turn to technology for information and training.

But the authors contend that technology works best in environments where teachers and faculty can help students learn technical and instructional skills in context and where they can apply their learning to other situations.

While noting that technology delivers content and provides a forum for the exchange of ideas, the authors emphasize that instructors are essential for helping students understand the material.

"Real teachers know that content represents only an opportunity for learning; learning occurs when students engage in content," they write. "As with every other technology that has emerged on the educational landscape, ultimately the teacher will establish the value of the computer in learning."

For more information, contact Todd Kent at (609) 258-3336. Robert McNergney is at (804) 924-0749 or via rfm@virginia.edu.

Contact: Ida Lee Wootten, (804) 924-6857.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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