Futurist Seely Brown talks about the shift in education from "open head, insert content" and the view of student as blank receptacle to recieve teacher's knowledge into a more apprenticeship-like participatory activity.
Schools can teach essential knowledge and critical thinking through somewhat traditional means. But they should complement that teaching with what Seely Brown called "passion-based learning" that focuses on getting students more engaged with topic experts.
In this new world, technology is essential because it provides every student with the means to experiment with building their own things. In the old-school apprenticeship model, the kid would enter the shop and (after sweeping the floor and such for a while) get their own hammer, paintbrush, or whatever it was to start playing with. You had reasonably easy access to the careers that were available to you; each town needed a smithy, you could count on an artist's guild in every major city, and so forth. Right, so your career options weren't terribly open ("Howdy, I'm Joe Peasant... I'd like to become a scholar" would have just gotten you clubbed upside the head) but learning was highly participatory; you didn't take Farming 101, you just... farmed.
Industrialization took that away for a while; how the heck do you give a kid their own factory to play with? When all the guns in the region are being mass-produced by a factory in a different state and your own town is the center of production for corn and only for corn, how do you gain exposure to a diverse set of careers? Technology allows us to give each kid simulations of many different complex systems (think SimCity and ZooTycoon) and access and exposure to experts from many different areas they might be interested in.