Make Schools More Human By Using Technology | John Watson | 4 Min Read

This blog post is republished from the Digital Learning Collaborative blog – February 11, 2021.

“Make schools more human by using technology” seems like either A) an oxymoron, or B) an example of the old saying that when all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. In other words, of course, the Digital Learning Collaborative would think that the way to make schools “more human” is by using more tech.

But as I was reading an article with that title, originally published in December in the New York Times, two thoughts kept going through my head. One was that the column was raising more problems than solutions. The second was that we see solutions to the problems raised, being applied by hybrid schools—especially those that have added digital learning to improve the student experience in non-digital ways.

Make Schools More Human: The pandemic showed us that education was broken. It also showed us how to fix it” opens with a fairly standard—and accurate—critique of much pandemic-induced remote learning.

“There is little doubt that going to school is, on average, better for students [than remote learning]. They are frequently tuning out of…

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John Watson

As Evergreen’s founder and primary researcher, John Watson is responsible for conducting, writing, and presenting research as well as providing testimony on digital learning matters to state boards of education, legislatures, and charter school commissions. He has extensive knowledge and experience based on his two decades working in online learning and education technology. This background has afforded him a wide-reaching network across the spectrum of education professionals, policymakers, and subject matter experts as well as the ability to provide insightful, dimensional analysis and recommendations. After earning his MBA and a MS in natural resource policy at the University of Michigan, John went to work for one of the first Learning Management System companies, eCollege, in early 1998. He launched eCollege’s K-12 division, called eClassroom, and managed eClassroom’s research and business development. This experience was the springboard for John’s independent consulting in environmental policy and education which evolved into what Evergreen Education Group is today. John is deeply moved by stories of students and teachers who have been positively impacted by technology in classrooms, online courses, and innovative schools. He strives to tell these stories accurately and to clearly explain the challenges inherent with digital learning in order to bring an honest, balanced perspective to Evergreen’s insight and recommendations. His ability to approach research and relationships with consideration for bias and hierarchy makes him a natural connector between information and people. John has presented and led panel discussions at numerous conferences and convenings. In addition to his research for Evergreen, John writes regularly about various issues related to digital learning and is a contributing author of the Handbook of Research on K-12 Online and Blended Learning. His and Evergreen’s work has been cited in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Education Week, and eSchool News, and he has also appeared on NBC Nightly News.