Last week for the Book Club, we read Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology by Allan Collins and Richard Halverson. The book took a positive look at technology through recent education history in America to what it currently is right now. It does address some of the criticisms of technology today, but overall keeps the view of technology in the book to a positive.
Although some of the aspects of the book I did not exactly agree with, I did like the upbeat tone of the book. Many of the higher education writings about technology today focus too much on the negative deterministic driving of technology in our society and not so much on how technology can move us in a positive direction. Another aspect of the book that I did enjoy was the history of technology in our current education system. I am a big history fan, so that part made my day. I learned a lot about the start of our current education system and how it slowly came from parents being the main stakeholders in their children's education to the government creating public schools to ensure that the country's citizens were educated enough to vote.
Overall, though, I believe the two parts of the book that will help me the most with my current research is the section on "Interaction" (pg. 18) and "Games and Simulation" (pg.20). The authors state "Enthusiasts believe that by providing even more sophisticated dynamic interaction, computer-based learning environments are likely to make education much more engaging." This helps with my argument about the future of distance education using more immersive technologies to help their students learn. Also, the authors say "Enthusiasts argue that simulation is the key to letting learners explore new situations." Both need for immersion and simulation is recommended by distance educators, and virtual environments (which I am researching) helps with that. I believe that the use of technology in distance education does affect their learning to a point. I plan to write more about that later.
In conclusion, I enjoyed reading most of the book and found it helpful as well as informative. I plan re-visit the book sometime again and look over the arguments that the authors make. In the end, I found it quite interesting.