EdTech Future Tense Event Recognizes Dr. Alice Wilder's Work

Pittsburgh's own Dr. Alice Wilder was mentioned in a recent article by Slate Magazine about educational technology.

Pittsburgh’s own Dr. Alice Wilder was mentioned in an article in the New York based, online publication, Slate, owned by The Washington Post. Dr. Wilder was recognized for her research and education for Super Why on PBS, and her dedication to learning more about educational technology. The Slate article focused on edtech from the perspective of “Getting Schooled by a Third-Grader,” a Future Tense event on technology in early education held at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C.

It’s easy to think of educational technology as just another route to the status quo: drilling facts into kids. However, the experts at “Getting Schooled by a Third Grader” said that when it’s done right, educational technology is a different beast altogether. By the end of elementary school, according to Guernsey, many kids are “deadened” by education and have lost their intrinsic love of learning. Engaging technology may help inoculate kids against this troubling outcome. None of our speakers believe that computers alone can—let alone should—impart knowledge. Teachers must be there as guides. But they are all excited by its potential.

Several key leaders were mentioned in the article, including Joel Levin, a private school teacher from New York City who is creating educational versions of the blockbuster game Minecraft; Dr. Alice Wilder; and Annie Murphy Paul, another New America fellow and author of Origins and the forthcoming Brilliant.

And when it comes to teaching, said Annie Murphy Paul, technology has helped upend some long-held truisms. For instance: Educators have believed for some time that kids want learning to be easy. However, we know from watching how they engage with technology that they actually prefer to experience a certain amount of difficulty. Video games and software can customize the challenges to an individual student, hitting that sweet spot between too easy and too hard, “right at the edge of their abilities.” Another advantage to using games for learning is that they provide instant feedback and set clear goals for users.

To hear more about “Getting Schooled by a Third Grader”, view the full article online at Slate Magazine.

Published August 10, 2012