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Wendell Berry Summarizes Technology and Education Reform

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My first intellectual path was an an environmental historian, reading folks like Thoreau, Roderick Nash, John Muir, Edward Abbey, Annie Dillard, Aldo Leopold and others. One of the others is Wendell Berry, who is probably best known as the "soul of the real food movement."

In a recent interview with the New York Times' Mark Bittman, Wendell Berry shared this position on how Americans and their fellow travelers on the globe will make the changes necessary to live sustainably on the one world we have.

Change, he says, is going to come from "people at the bottom" doing things differently. "[N]o great feat is going to happen to change all this; you're going to have to humble yourself to be willing to do it one little bit at a time. You can't make people do this. What you have to do is notice that they're already doing it."

That's pretty much my position on the role of technology in K-12 education reform. My read of the history of U.S. education is that no new gadget or Web page is going to change practice at scale. If we want things to be different, it will be a long, slow process of working with 3.2 million teachers in 14,000 districts. Plan for that.

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