How Making Can Restore Power to Learners and Change the Course of Edtech

ENTER STAGER: Count Gary Stager among edtech’s critical optimists. The Maker, author and teacher decries that “a quarter century after schools first embraced 1:1 computing…such efforts at student empowerment remain controversial.” After all, he believes that most of today’s classroom technology is encouraging the same rote, passive activities that kids did two decades ago—like word processing and making flashcards and “presentations on topics [they] don’t care about.”

His essay dives into how edtech can "make a course correction" and return agency back to the learner. And it starts with teaching kids to use increasingly affordable tools like 3-D printers to make real things. After all, making things work offers an unbridled joy that abstract textbook theories and concepts can’t match. His outline of what it’ll take to realize this vision starts with leadership and professional development, since “you cannot expect to teach 21st century learners if you have not learned in this century.”

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