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Sir Ken Robinson: Political Fixes Hurt Ed. System

Educational technology advocates have pushed for more politicians to come to the aid of their cause. But Sir Ken Robinson might tell them not to.

In his remarks during the opening keynote session here in San Diego at ISTE 2012, the International Society for Technology in Education's annual conference, the educational creativity guru suggested that all the reforms politicians have implemented in education in recent years have actually hurt the conventional educational system in the United States and elsewhere.

"It's never been a hotter topic politically, and yet more and more kids and teachers are becoming disengaged with the whole process," said Robinson, who directed blame at federal No Child Left Behind in particular.

"The problem is the whole process of education is being based on an impersonal approach and a suffocating culture of standardization," he said.

So how does the ed-tech community avoid that same problem?

One key, Robinson says, is only implementing technology measures when it's clear they serve a more holistic educational goal.

"At the heart of this to me is the idea of persistence and engagement," he said, "which kind of precedes technology as an idea."

Robinson followed his remarks by moderating a panel discussion with Shawn Corvell, vice president of Qualcomm's nonprofit Wireless Reach program, TV actor and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik, and digital learning author Marc Prensky.

The four agreed that among the biggest benefits of technology integration is the ability to increase academic communication between students.

Before Robinson's remarks, ISTE President Holly Jobe introduced new ISTE Chief Executive Officer Brian Lewis, who will fill Don Knezek's post when he resigns in September. Lewis was officially announced as the organization's new chief on Thursday.

And Karen Cator, the director of the office of education technology in the U.S. Department of Education, announced that this August would be known as the first "Connected Educators Month". Expect more on that in the coming days and check back here for our coverage of the conference.

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