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Technological skills shouldn't be the focus of education, says expert

December 10, 2001

The key to maintaining America's technological advantage doesn't reside in teaching students the latest technology, says Willard R. Daggett, president of the International Center for Leadership in Education. "Technology is outdated before we even get the students through the program….The best approach is to teach students the skills that underpin the technological world."

Those skills include integrated mathematics (statistics, logic, probability measurement systems), science (applied physics) and biotech and nanotech (biochemistry), says Daggett, who heads a consulting group that focuses on education reform through academic technology.

"In language arts areas, it's technical reading and technical writing. In all those disciplines, it's teaching students how to identify, access and use information and materials," he adds.

Asked to address the role of technology in colleges, Daggett says the latest technology isn't the most important component of a successful instructor's toolbox. "What we often try to do is equip our colleges with the latest technology when indeed our top priority might be retooling our teachers to know how to teach students in the 21st century. I lean toward a much heavier emphasis on professional development than simply obtaining more technology."

The full interview with Daggett can be found in the Nov. 27 issue of "The Chronicle of Higher Education."