The tools that have delivered are specific, targeted solutions that are easy to use and provide teachers and students delight. Simple solutions, like Read 180, which helps accelerate learning for struggling students, still deliver 20 years later, now under Houghton Mifflin Harcourt instead of Scholastic. Accelerated Reader, a product that started more than 30 years ago, still motivates kids to read.
Companies that aim to provide student data in a usable fashion, like Schoology, still provide value.
the promise of data in education is still proving itself. It has taken awhile, but we’re getting to a point where data is more actionable. Renaissance just acquired Schoolzilla, which was launched in 2011, for this reason.
When it comes to devices, many kids today have access to iPads or Chromebooks. Although one-to-one computing hasn’t been as transformational as some predicted in 2010, we’ve certainly seen a huge shift
Most of these [textbook providers] companies tried to re-platform every unique product into one monolithic model, but the promise didn’t pan out—the products proved clunky and hard to use
Predictions that educators would want more assessment data to drive instruction have proven true. https://www.renaissance.com/
The prediction that digital reading would be simple and easy to implement has also proven true.
Virtual reality hasn’t panned out yet.
The rise of gaming in education was another prediction that has largely faded.
started to solve the challenge of data interoperability and portability.
Alongside that, privacy and data responsibility are still a problem
The role of the teacher, however, is still critical. Rather than take over responsibility for educating students, technology’s role should be—and increasingly is—to put multiple options into educators’ hands to easily solve different types of challenges for individual students.
more on technology for the last decade
SPIEGEL: But you also said that lists can establish order. So, do both order and anarchy apply? That would make the Internet, and the lists that the search engine Google creates, prefect for you.
Eco: Yes, in the case of Google, both things do converge. Google makes a list, but the minute I look at my Google-generated list, it has already changed. These lists can be dangerous — not for old people like me, who have acquired their knowledge in another way, but for young people, for whom Google is a tragedy. Schools ought to teach the high art of how to be discriminating.
SPIEGEL: Are you saying that teachers should instruct students on the difference between good and bad? If so, how should they do that?
Eco: Education should return to the way it was in the workshops of the Renaissance. There, the masters may not necessarily have been able to explain to their students why a painting was good in theoretical terms, but they did so in more practical ways. Look, this is what your finger can look like, and this is what it has to look like. Look, this is a good mixing of colors. The same approach should be used in school when dealing with the Internet. The teacher should say: “Choose any old subject, whether it be German history or the life of ants. Search 25 different Web pages and, by comparing them, try to figure out which one has good information.” If 10 pages describe the same thing, it can be a sign that the information printed there is correct. But it can also be a sign that some sites merely copied the others’ mistakes.
SPIEGEL: You yourself are more likely to work with books, and you have a library of 30,000 volumes. It probably doesn’t work without a list or catalogue.
Eco: I’m afraid that, by now, it might actually be 50,000 books. When my secretary wanted to catalogue them, I asked her not to. My interests change constantly, and so does my library. By the way, if you constantly change your interests, your library will constantly be saying something different about you. Besides, even without a catalogue, I’m forced to remember my books. I have a hallway for literature that’s 70 meters long. I walk through it several times a day, and I feel good when I do. Culture isn’t knowing when Napoleon died. Culture means knowing how I can find out in two minutes. Of course, nowadays I can find this kind of information on the Internet in no time. But, as I said, you never know with the Internet.