Day By Day

Saturday, May 05, 2007

"Experts" Blow Another One

Remember all those educational "experts" who assured us that computers in the classroom would result in big gains in education? Of course you do! Politicians and philanthropists were falling all over each other in their determination to put the nation's students online. Well, chalk up another failure for the cult of expertise.

The NYT reports:

[S]chool officials... in several... places said laptops had been abused by students, did not fit into lesson plans, and showed little, if any, measurable effect on grades and test scores at a time of increased pressure to meet state standards. Districts have dropped laptop programs after resistance from teachers, logistical and technical problems, and escalating maintenance costs.

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.

Those giving up on laptops include large and small school districts, urban and rural communities, affluent schools and those serving mostly low-income, minority students, who as a group have tended to underperform academically.

Read it here.

Oh well, back to the drawing boards. I wonder what the next batch of snake oil will look like.