[OT] Interesting Read On Tech In Classrooms vs None

Judy Perry jperryl at ecs.fullerton.edu
Tue Oct 25 17:41:09 EDT 2011

Hi Jeff,

I agree completely.  In 1998 computer scientist Elliot Solloway observed 
that "...by and large, schools use only software that comes already 
installed on the machine (a word processor, a spreadsheet, a drawing 
program)... computers are being used as typewriters.  Its heartbreaking."

Computers are just the latest incarnation of new technology as a magic 
bullet.  In 1922 Thomas Alva Edison -- not normally thought of as an 
imbecile -- wrote this about the motion picture:

"I believe that the motion picture is destined to revolutionise our 
educational system and that in a few years it will supplant largely, if 
not entirely, the use of textbooks. I should say that we get about two 
percent efficiency out of schoolbooks as they are written today.  The 
education of the future, as I see it, will be conducted through the medium 
of the motion picture where it should be possible to obtain one hundred 
percent efficiency."

That obviously didn't happen.  Neither did "universities of the airwaves" 
with radio and except for a very few exceptional examples like Sesame 
Street and The Electric Company, neither did television.  And neither will 
computers, and for all the same reasons.

It's not that computers are of zero value in the classroom; it's that 
teachers by and large are computer-phobic and not taught to use anything 
other than the web and M$ office and maybe, just maybe, front page. 
Sometimes HyperStudio but from what I've heard from people who graduated 
with their teaching credential from my institution, the HS class was 
taught by somebody who didn't know anything about it.

My kids have been in US public schools for 6 years.  Every year I've asked 
the kids about computer usage (little to none), asked whether they even 
were functional (frequently not) and checked them out myself to see that 
there's basically NOTHING installed and working.

I wrote a little multiplication bingo game to help  my kids learn their 
multiplication tables and gave a license to each of their two teachers. 
Neither one could figure out how to install it/use it.


I have college students who don't understand the concept of FILE FORMATS 
or that they can't overwrite files that they still need to have; who can't 
figure out what they named their file or where they saved it.  Who can't 
login to a system where their login and password are first initial last 

I kid you not.



  On Tue, 25 Oct 2011, Jeff 
Reynolds wrote:

> having run a high school computer lab and taught multimedia there its really 
> true that they are oversold and underused. it takes a lot of creativity and 
> flexibility to find when and where you get a hight bang for the buck to use 
> computers in the classroom, otherwise you are just spending a lot of time and 
> money that yields negative learning returns... i do fear taking the other 
> extreme can be just as problematic.

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