New educational technologies promise to open the doors and windows of American classrooms so that the world becomes the classroom and students become powerful thinkers - what Alvin Toffler would call "brainworkers." Properly utilized, new technologies can provide the basis for an educational renaissance that develops a generation of imaginative problem-solvers well equipped to handle a turbulent Age of Information.
When new technologies arrive on the scene, old mind-sets and patterns of behaviors - the smokestack paradigms that have outlived the industrial economy they once served - often act to limit the potential of the new arrivals. This book is dedicated to the belief that learning can be made both more engaging and more productive with the computers and other new tools of the Information Age, but school leaders must be prepared to shed those mind-sets which are now outmoded or irrelevant in an Age of Information. They must be ready to take a fresh view at the ways we organize schools for instruction and learning.
Power Learning will introduce the reader to technology applications with enormous capacities to empower students as thinkers, researchers and inventors. While these applications call for a shift in the roles of both teachers and students, the shift is a necessary step for this society and economy. It is what Joel Barker would call a "paradigm shift."
Power Learning provides a vivid road map to guide local school program development. Like any good road map, it offers a variety of routes, but much like a AAA TripTik, Power Learning also warns the reader of obstacles and hazards that might interfere with implementation.
Up to the publication of this book in 1993, there is still evidence that new technologies have failed to penetrate the everyday life of most American students. While there are hundreds of enterprising schools and teachers exploring the potential of new technologies, smokestack paradigms persist in most schools and most classrooms. New equipment often sits idly by or becomes the personal property of a handful of enthusiastic pioneers.
Power Learning maintains that the use of new technologies to make meaning is basic to citizenship and employment in an Age of Information. Schools are responsible for implementing these technologies so that they permeate learning across all disciplines and classrooms. Power Learning enables the reader to climb up into the "crow's nest" and peer over the horizon to appreciate the magnificent educational possibilities which lie just ahead. Once glimpsed, these possibilities may guide future navigation and program development so that decisions maximize benefits and avoid the shoals of trendy purchases.