“Every education investor needs to read this book. Instead, they can just read “Failure to Disrupt,” the new book by Justin Reich, Director of the Teaching Systems Lab at MIT. Or, better yet, read just the introduction and conclusion. Those 30 or so pages may be the most important read for anyone in, or even thinking about being in, edtech. In a few dozen pages, Reich lays out the embarrassing cycle of copied ideas, massive hype, enormous wasted funding and the unmet promises of edtech — why so many innovations and companies find only dramatically downsized and incremental uses, leaving education fundamentally not disrupted over and over again.”
“Reich takes readers on a tour of auto-graders, computerized “intelligent tutors,” and other educational technologies whose problems and paradoxes have bedeviled educators. Technology does have a crucial role to play in the future of education, Reich concludes. We still need new teaching tools, and classroom experimentation should be encouraged. But successful reform efforts will focus on incremental improvements, not the next killer app.”
“At the end of the book, Reich offers four questions that he finds especially useful to consider when examining a new large-scale educational technology. Perhaps the most useful question is the first: “What’s new?” Despite what “edtech evangelists” might claim, new technologies often have closely related ancestors that can help predict their success, he argues. In the end, however, new technologies alone are unlikely to have a substantial impact on schooling. We must also be open to changing educational goals and expectations according to the possibilities offered by emergent technologies.”
“If you have already decided that educational technology is a utopia or a dystopia, there’s no need to read this—or, indeed, any– book. But if you desire a clear, balanced, and insightful evaluation of the range of educational technologies, Justin Reich’s book will inform and delight you.”
“Technology in learning carries a high cost economically and culturally. In a game of trade-offs between efficiency and human development, research remains the critical lens to guide decisions. This exceptional book is the best resource currently available to guide readers to understanding the failure of technology in classrooms, what needs to be done to make a real impact, and the critical importance of education as community.”
Check out the Failure to Disrupt Virtual Book Club Podcast!
In the Fall of 2020 Justin Reich invited guest presenters and students from MIT for a ten week book club exploring themes in Failure to Disrupt. Now he has turned into a Podcast to relive those discussions and offer more insights.