Never Send a Machine… Re-imagining Technology in Education (Excerpted From Yong Zhao)


I absolutely love what Yong Zhao has to say especially about the shortcoming of standardized assessments. Some of my favorite Zhao blog posts:

How Does PISA Put the World at Risk (Part 1): Romanticizing Misery

Doublethink: The Creativity-Testing Conflict

Test Scores vs. Entrepreneurship: PISA, TIMSS, and Confidence

And then I found his thoughts on educational technology. I have excerpted a small bit below, but please visit the original article here:

Never Send a Human to do a Machine’s Job: Top 5 Mistakes in Ed Tech

You can also purchase the full length book on Amazon. (Click on the caption below the book cover image to be redirected.)

Says Zhao:

A new way to think about technology and education is “never send a human to do a machine’s job,” advice from Agent Smith in the film The Matrix. In education, we need to redefine the relationship between humans and machines based on thoughtful analyses of what humans do best and what should be relegated to technology. There is no reason to have human teachers do things that machines do better or more effectively. There is no reason to have human teachers perform routine, mechanical, and boring tasks when technology can do it. After all, the reason to have technology is to extend, expand, and/or replace certain human functions.

The redefinition of relationship can only happen when we begin to reimagine what education should be like…. Technology has made it both a necessity and a possibility to realize some of the long-standing proposals for child-centered education and learning by doing. Personalized education that grants students autonomy and respects their uniqueness has become a necessity for cultivating the abilities required for living in a society when machines are rapidly taking jobs away from humans. Technology has made it possible to enable personalized learning and to have students take more control of their own learning. Moreover, technology has also made it possible for students to engage in authentic learning by tackling real-world problems on a global scale.

In summary, technology has been traditionally conceived as tool to enhance and improve existing practices within the existing educational setup, but it has become a tool to enable a grand education transformation that has been imagined by many pioneering thinkers such as John Dewey. The transformation is not about technology, but about more meaningful education for all children.


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