Using tech to teach the same old garbage
05 May 2007

Using tech to teach the same old garbage

Folks, when you use new technologies to

05 May 2007

Folks, when you use new technologies to teach the same old garbage, you’re not going to get the results that you want. The NY Times started to touch on this in their article, Seeing no progress, some schools drop laptops:

…the Liverpool Central School District, just outside Syracuse, has decided to phase out laptops starting this fall, joining a handful of other schools around the country that adopted one-to-one computing programs and are now abandoning them as educationally empty — and worse.


Such disappointments are the latest example of how technology is often embraced by philanthropists and political leaders as a quick fix, only to leave teachers flummoxed about how best to integrate the new gadgets into curriculums. Last month, the United States Department of Education released a study showing no difference in academic achievement between students who used educational software programs for math and reading and those who did not.

Michele at the Bamboo Project has it figured out. She quotes Mark Warschauer at UC Irvine:

Where laptops and Internet use make a difference are in innovation, creativity, autonomy and independent research. …If the goal is to get kids up to basic standard levels, then maybe laptops are not the tool. But if the goal is to create the George Lucas and Steve Jobs of the future, then laptops are extremely useful.

So, the lesson learned is that if you want to create kids that will perform well in a non-ICT-oriented society, then don’t provide them with technological tools. If you want them, however, to develop creative and innovative uses to succeed in knowledge and innovation-based societies that demand the use of ICT, then you must embrace the tools. And, when you do so, you cannot use them to teach the same old garbage (usually rote, “download”-style learning). Pedagogies that embrace ICT must leapfrog conventional paradigms and support students’ pervasive creativity, knowledge production, invention, and innovation.

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