Friday, June 05, 2015

Computers and schools

Why Technology Alone Won't Fix Schools - The Atlantic

I know this is just one guy writing, but if this is true, the conclusion is what I suspected would be the case:
Over the last decade, I’ve designed, studied, and taught
educational technology in different parts of the world. In Bangalore,
India, I experimented with multiple mice plugged into a single personal
computer to increase student interaction. In rural Uganda, I cringed as
students played a typing game with their index fingers, hunt-and-peck
style. In Seattle, Washington, I wrestled with the distraction posed by
technology in an after-school computer literacy class for pre-teens.
Across all of those projects, a single, simple pattern held in every
case. I call it technology’s “Law of Amplification”: Technology’s
primary effect is to amplify human forces, so in education, technologies
amplify whatever pedagogical capacity is already there.

Amplification seems like an obvious idea—all it says is that
technology is a tool that augments human power. But, if it’s obvious,
it nevertheless has profound consequences that are routinely overlooked.
For example, amplification explains why large-scale roll-outs of
educational technology rarely result in positive outcomes. In any
representative set of schools, some are doing well and others poorly.
Introducing computers may result in benefit for some (the ones
highlighted in pilot studies), but it distracts the weaker schools from
their core mission. On average, the outcome is a wash.

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