Scalable designs for educational transformation…”

From Challenges to learning and schooling in the digital networked world of the 21st century

Beyond making 21st century competencies a part of education, understanding how ICT might shift our educational structures from industrial era schools to new types of 21st century formal educational models is important. Societies can no longer afford a labour-intensive model of education that uses expensive human resources inefficiently. This is not a temporary financial dislocation due to an economic downturn, but a permanent sea change that has already happened in every other service sector of our economy. Many of the innovative pedagogical practices supported by technology of the SITES study (e.g., Kozma, 2003) are based on personal heroism, educators who make sacrifices in every other part of their lives in order to help their students. These are wonderful stories, but such a model for educational improvement is un-scalable to typical teachers. Scaling up involves adapting an innovation successful in a local setting to effective usage in a wide range of contexts (Dede, 2006). Scalable designs for educational transformation must avoid what Wiske and Perkins (2005) term the ‘replica trap’: the erroneous strategy of trying to repeat everywhere what worked locally.

Wise words. Conventional wisdom among the digerati tends toward thinking that technology-in-education is a sort of revealed religious truth that, once everyone “gets it” will naturally spread like wildfire. This is naive.