Transforming Schools with Technology

by Andrew A. Zucker, Harvard Education Press, Cambridge, Mass., 2008, 260 pp., $26.95 softcover

Andrew A. Zucker, a senior research scientist at the Concord Consortium, asserts it’s time for educators to move beyond “techno-cheerleading” and shift the focus to using the technology meaningfully to transform American education.



In his meta-analysis of digital technology use in education, Transforming Schools with Technology: How Smart Use of Digital Tools Helps Achieve Six Key Educational Goals, the author draws on a myriad of studies of the use of digital technologies and what is known about “how they affect teaching and learning in real schools.” Separate chapters address six goals, including enhanced student achievement, attracting and retaining high-quality teachers, attention to English language learners and children with disabilities, and perform-ance accountability.

Zucker asserts his text may soon be out-of-date due to new technologies that constantly become available. Even so, the trends he describes will not abate. He writes: “It is a pleasant utopian dream to believe that we will soon have the schools systems we need. … The reality is that an education system for 50 million students does not change quickly.”

Zucker’s book explores how schools can become higher-performing organizations using digital technology and explains how technology provides a powerful toolkit with unique advantages: It bridges time and distance, democratizing access to information and services, and leverages the computer power and potential that have helped transform other organizations, especially those based on information and knowledge.

Education leaders will appreciate this jargon-free treatise, which brings together much of what is known about the value of digital technology in K-12 education.

Reviewed by Charles W. Rudiger, professor of management and educational administration, leadership and technology, Dowling College, Oakdale, N.Y.