Expert in Education Technology to Join GSE

A George Mason University expert in helping schools integrate technology into their classrooms will join the Graduate School of Education (GSE) faculty as a full professor in August 2000, the school announced this week.

Chris Dede, 52, will serve as a professor in GSE's Technology in Education (TIE) program and, beyond the courses he will teach, said he hopes to "help the University think about its potential to apply new media to learning across distance."

According to Stone Wiske, director of the Technology in Education program, Dede's experience as a senior program director for the National Science Foundation and a member of the U.S. Department of Education's expert panel on educational technology makes him a pioneer in his field.

"Chris Dede is a great addition to our department because he's been working on these ideas for several decades," Wiske said. "He's a futurist, looking at what's coming."

A double degree graduate in chemistry and English from the California Institute of Technology in 1969, Dede boasts a 23-page long resume, detailing his work in linking pedagogy and computer aids.

The TIE program focuses on teaching the use of new technology in the classroom, the training of teachers in how to use these new technologies and the development of the technology itself.

GSE spokesperson Christine Sanni said that while technology like the Internet is increasingly available in classrooms, teachers themselves often do not know how to use it, making effective classroom presentations impossible.

"We are trying to integrate technology into pedagogy and the way classes are taught, but we also have to make sure that teachers are ready to use the technology," Sanni said.

Students enrolled in the TIE program study technologies such as the Internet, CD-ROM, television and others

Dede's research focuses on "new devices, tools, media and infrastructures...hand-held computers, computer simulations, virtual reality, the Web...to understand their strengths and limits for learning," Dede wrote in an e-mail message.

One of a handful of professors in the TIE program, Dede assumes the post previously held by MacArthur "genius grant" winner Jan Hawkins, who died in February of breast cancer.

"I'm delighted that he [Dede] is joining the department," Wiske said, "and I'm looking forward to his leadership and the fresh perspective that he'll give to our work."