Barbara Barreda writes in Education Week that it may be time to change how schools use technology. Historically, universities and (to a lesser extent) public schools were the institutions that brought new equipment and training to students. Students alone did not have the money and ability to access cutting-edge technology. But, as Barreda says:

While some may still debate the role of technology in education I believe that most educators understand that access to information and connectivity are important. Therefore, if for the moment, we accept that technology is a key component in learning and that it is simply a tool, not an end in and of itself, then we can turn our attention to the question at hand. Are we at a new point on the time-line of technology in education? Should schools be the providers of technology or have things changed enough that there may be more effective models?

Certainly American community colleges (and the for-profit schools) have made training people to use technology a central part of their role in education. But at least at the college level most students are pretty well versed in new technology before they even enter higher education.

Technology is just a tool of education, not education itself. At this point it might make more sense to simply give students the ability to use technology on their own, not merely keep the technology, and the technological training, at the school itself. Barreda calls this “shifting from providing to empowering.”

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer