"Rethinking Education" Reading/Writing Questions

Alan Collins and Richard Halverson

“Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The DigitalRevolution and the Schools”


Allan M. Collins is Professor Emeritus of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. He has studied teaching and learning for over 30 years focusing on relationships amongst technology, scientific inquiry, and education.  Richard Halverson is an Associate Professor at the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As co-director of the research group, Games, Learning and Society he explores different areas of learning technology, such as the development of game and simulation based tools for professional learning.  The following essay is excerpted from their co-authored book Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and Schooling in America (2009).  In this essay, Collins and Halverson consider the numerous changes occurring in how people learn as a result of new technologies and how and why some of these changes might shape educational policies and schools for the future.


How similar or dissimilar do you believe your educational experiences have been compared to those of your parents?




1.     Why do the authors believe “education is in flux”?

2.     According to the authors, what are the three major categories that can be used to discuss the “imperatives of the technologies driving changes in education”?

3.     What types of learning activities and technologies do the authors include in each of the three categories?

4.     What are some of “new literacies” mentioned by the authors?

5.     What are the authors’ major concerns regarding what may be lost if education moves away from a traditional schooling model?

6.     What do the authors believe may be the benefits of moving away from a traditional schooling model?


1.     Collins and Halverson begin their essay with a series of anecdotes about how education is changing.  Reflecting on your own experiences, those of a friend or family member, or something you have read, do you have an anecdote that illustrates some of the changes occurring in education that you would add?  If so, relate that anecdote and then in a short essay explain how it connects to those in the essay.

2.     A central premise of Collins and Halverson’s essay is that “it is time…to rethink education apart from schooling.”  Based on the essay and your own experiences, explain how these two activities may be distinct.  Based on what you have written, explain why you agree or disagree with this proposition.

3.      According to the authors, a “revolution…is occurring in education.”  Assess the claims and evidence they present in support of this argument.  Based on this assessment and an assessment of your own experiences with schooling and education, write an essay in which compare and contrast the authors findings with your own experiences, explaining why both may support or contest their central proposition that a revolution in education is occurring.