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After 15 Years, Maine's Laptops-in-Schools Initiative Fails To Raise Test Scores (npr.org) 158

For years Maine has been offering laptops to high school students -- but is it doing more harm than good? An anonymous reader writes: One high school student says "We hardly ever use paper," while another student "says he couldn't imagine social studies class without his laptop and Internet connection. 'I don't think I could do it, honestly... I don't want to look at a newspaper. I don't even know where to get a newspaper!'" But then the reporter visits a political science teacher who "learned what a lot of teachers, researchers and policymakers in Maine have come to realize over the past 15 years: You can't just put a computer in a kid's hand and expect it to change learning."

"Research has shown that 'one-to-one' programs, meaning one student one computer, implemented the right way, increase student learning in subjects like writing, math and science. Those results have prompted other states, like Utah and Nevada, to look at implementing their own one-to-one programs in recent years. Yet, after a decade and a half, and at a cost of about $12 million annually (around one percent of the state's education budget), Maine has yet to see any measurable increases on statewide standardized test scores."

The article notes that Maine de-emphasized teacher training which could've produced better results. One education policy researcher "says this has created a new kind of divide in Maine. Students in larger schools, with more resources, have learned how to use their laptops in more creative ways. But in Maine's higher poverty and more rural schools, many students are still just using programs like PowerPoint and Microsoft Word."
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After 15 Years, Maine's Laptops-in-Schools Initiative Fails To Raise Test Scores

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  • I was in high school in the 1980s and they wanted to put Commodore PETs everywhere, then they wanted Apples, then the provincial government decided it would be IBM PCs in the computer classes. Looking back, I can imagine that the salesmen were salivating at all that juicy education money.

    TI still sells overpriced calculators to universities today! Education is as much a racket as anything else these days.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The degree is proof you do as you are told. Not that you have any wits.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      The UK tried it for a generation with BBC Micro https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
      France had advanced networks with its Minitel https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      Over the decades most nations slowly find out that new computers and more computers don't really educate most people to an amazing level new of educational results.
      Did the UK become a super computer nation with all its access to years of computers?
      A few really smart people in the UK made really great games, hardware and software over a generat
      • >The UK tried it for a generation with BBC Micro https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ [wikipedia.org]... [wikipedia.org]

        Ebon Upton grew up with the BBC Micros and this directly led to the Raspberry Pi being developed.

      • The UK tried it for a generation with BBC Micro https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ [wikipedia.org]...

        And it was glorious. About half the people I know in my generation who are in tech started with the BBC like I did. Plus you know it worked out pretty well otherwise. Acorn (the company who made the BBC) then went on to build themselves a RISC processor known as the Acorn Risc Machine, or ARM (later backronymed into something else when they spun it out), which you may have heard of.

        The USA kept on winning thanks to its educatio

      • Did the UK become a super computer nation with all its access to years of computers?

        Yes. Unlike most other 'educational' platforms, the BBC was part of a surprisingly well thought out government initiative. Schools received a subsidy on computers only if they met a bunch of conditions, including coming with an environment for structured programming. BBC BASIC (Roger / Sophie Wilson's creation) won Acorn the contract to produce the recommended version. This dialect of BASIC had subroutines, structured loop constructs, direct memory access, a built-in assembler (you could even write a JI

        • Wow, you really have no idea what you're talking about. The USA has a lot of larger tech companies for several reasons, but the biggest ones are the huge internal markets.

          Remember though, you are arguing with someone who's argument is how good it used to be. How the American education was uber alles back in the day. Well, I recall reading in the history books how in 1957, a little metal sphere called Sputnik shocked American's and their education system.

          • by sd4f ( 1891894 )

            I think the truth behind that was that Russia's German scientists were better than the USA's German scientists!

            Phrase more or less taken from "The Right Stuff".

      • The USA kept on winning thanks to its educational system always supporting the very best students.

        The USA kept on winning thanks to importing the best and brightest scientists from around the world with our beautiful country and absolutely highest standard of living. Now that America is dirty AF in every way, they're not coming here as much. If you haven't noticed the ongoing decline of the USA, you haven't been paying attention. Willful ignorance is no basis for decision-making.

        • The USA kept on winning thanks to importing the best and brightest scientists from around the world with our beautiful country and absolutely highest standard of living. Now that America is dirty AF in every way, they're not coming here as much. If you haven't noticed the ongoing decline of the USA, you haven't been paying attention. Willful ignorance is no basis for decision-making.

          The Brain Drain comes next. There is a latest generation SSC and a bigger Arecibo-like antenna going up in China, while we de-fund Arecibo, and slip even further behind in particle physics. Meanwhile we're busy making deals selling our hats to each other in the closet.

          During the importation of scientists, at least the politicians understood that science was very important. Today, science is belittled, and accused of faking science for those huge grants, and a whole field of study can somehow be refuted by

      • What are you doing positing when Fox and Friends is on?
      • by elrous0 ( 869638 )

        1. Give every student a computer
        2. ??
        3. Learning!

    • Yep! A sfar as TIs go, there are now Android apps that emulate the calculator while disabling all network connections for a set amount of time. Some schools already allow use of that app. It doesn't matter what the technology is and how many PCs or tablets are available. In the end it comes all down to quality of content and skill of a teacher. A great teacher can do with a few words and some sketches on a blackboard. Instead of training teachers to be better they get technology dropped in their laps with
    • maybe the student should test the teacher using the laptop and see if the teacher is worth their salary.
    • > Education is as much a racket as anything else these days.

      Indeed. Nothing has changed from when Feynman wrote about it:

      Judging Books by Their Covers [textbookleague.org]

      Greed is a cancer that destroys everything.

      The fact that teachers and parents are too stupid to do anything about corrupt politicss and having OPEN, FREE, STANDARDIZED, textbooks is precisely the problem -- NOT the greey publishers who want to change a few here and there then slap on a $150 sticker on "new" version.

      --
      ~2017 - ~2023 Trump nukes North Korea
      ~20

  • Maybe the problem isn't with the knowledge these kids have, or their methods of acquiring knowledge (because yes, technology helps tremendously in this regard)... but perhaps the testing system is entirely fucked?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      ... but perhaps the testing system is entirely fucked?

      Indeed. When my daughter was in high school she and several other students made a report on the human pancreas. One of the other parents mentioned that they seemed to be learning a lot about formatting documents in Word, creating slides in Powerpoint, but very little about pancreases. I told her to go look at the job offers on Craigslist, and compare the number of jobs requiring knowledge about pancreases to the number requiring knowledge of Word and Powerpoint.

      • Re:The problem (Score:5, Insightful)

        by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Sunday August 20, 2017 @05:42AM (#55051455) Journal

        I told her to go look at the job offers on Craigslist, and compare the number of jobs requiring knowledge about pancreases to the number requiring knowledge of Word and Powerpoint.

        That's because those jobs are called "doctor" and aren't generally advertised by Craigslist.

        • They're also not taught in a preparatory fashion by primary or high school.

        • While true, I do sincerely hope the US medical education does not depend on what's taught about organs in high school, or the US medical system is even more fucked than I imagined.

      • The jobs requiring pancreas knowledge pay much better. Your comparison is stupid and you are an idiot.

        • Knowledge of the functioning of the pancreas does not, in and of itself, lead to a higher paycheck for most Americans.

          Knowledge of computer usage to format word documents does, see, that's a skill that transcends verticals - expertise in the operation of the pancreas does not.

      • I told her to go look at the job offers on Craigslist, and compare the number of jobs requiring knowledge about pancreases to the number requiring knowledge of Word and Powerpoint.

        I tried searching for job offers and 'm getting a lot of "sell your organs now!" job and it is more than the ones asking for word and powerpoint. Did I accidentally went on the dark web?

    • darkain, agreed, dont blame the student or...the laptop. the system and teachers are not in the loop with todays younger generation and their knowledge. the teacher just wants to pay the bills, the students want to lower the bills using the laptops. theres your higher test scores.
    • More than likely, the teachers have no idea how to appropriately integrate technology so that it supports learning rather than distracts from it. Educational theory has been around a lot longer than computers have. I'm not aware of a lot of teacher prep programs teaching teachers how to integrate technology. And even if they were doing this, those are soon-to-be teachers, not current ones. The current ones probably got a day long professional development seminar about integrating tech into schools, and then

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      I would say that the problem is that so many in education and government have succeeded with no real hard skills, so they believe that the ability to fill in circles on a sheet of paper is sufficient to predict success. For years, for instance, the inability to fill out circles on the SAT was used as I was put in f reason to deny a person an education.

      In the late 70's I was put in front of a teletype and told to learn basic. In the 80's I was put in front of a terminal and told to learn Fortran.

  • by iCEBaLM ( 34905 ) <icebalm&icebalm,com> on Sunday August 20, 2017 @12:33AM (#55050929)

    You mean just giving computers to kids doesn't make them smarter? You actually still have to teach them and get them engaged in learning?

    Well I'll be...

    • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Sunday August 20, 2017 @12:38AM (#55050941) Journal

      You mean just giving computers to kids doesn't make them smarter?

      The Slashdot comments section is all the proof we need.

      • You mean just giving computers to kids doesn't make them smarter?

        The Slashdot comments section is all the proof we need.

        Burrrrn. You win the internet for today, good sir!

    • Re:You're kidding! (Score:4, Informative)

      by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday August 20, 2017 @12:52AM (#55050961)

      You actually still have to teach them and get them engaged in learning?

      No you don't. Kids are naturally curious. They will learn on their own, just not what they are supposed to be learning. My son was doing his chemistry homework, and looked up phosgene on Wikipedia. He was soon reading about the Battle of Ypres, and its effects of its aftermath on British planning for their Somme offensive the following summer. Was he learning? Certainly. Was he learning chemistry? Well, no. But maybe he will learn some chemistry while doing research for his history class. Will any of the stuff he serendipitously learned help his test scores? Unlikely, because it wasn't what he was supposed to be learning, so it won't be on the test.

      • Somehow I doubt your kid is the average pupil on whom the usual educational outcome improvement efforts are focused.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          See, this is the problem with "formal education". It's all about test scores leading to a scrap of very expensive paper that doesn't actually convey a useful message, or in fact much of any message at all.

          There are schools where they stimulate children to be curious and learn, who'll then manage the state-required tests as an afterthought. Such schools don't tend to stuff classrooms full of electronics (laptops, "smart boards", what-have-you), but put their focus elsewhere.

          In that light it perhaps isn't too

      • I never really thought about it, but this is how I learn a lot of things myself, and I've noticed a similar behavior in how my son learns as well. I can often look at my browser and see a tab history of just how I fell down into the rabbit hole of reading about x because it was mentioned in y which I wanted more detail on because I started reading about z.

    • You mean just giving computers to kids doesn't make them smarter? You actually still have to teach them and get them engaged in learning?

      Well I'll be...

      On the up-side, there are now a lot of local Maine weed dealers online that would not have been without this program!

      Strat

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Just because test scores didn't improve doesn't mean that the programme was a waste of money though. Computer skills are essential these days. It would be interesting to know if they picked up useful skills or if it had a detrimental effect on some other important ones.

    • icebalm, we cant fix stupid. if the student cant operate a laptop, they will end up at mcdonalds on their smartphones while taking an order.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Studies seem to show that attentive listening and HAND-WRITTEN notes have the highest retention overall in every category. I wonder why.

    • Studies seem to show that attentive listening and HAND-WRITTEN notes have the highest retention

      Here is a study that supports this: The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard [sagepub.com] ... and an article about the study in SciAm: Don't take notes with a laptop [scientificamerican.com]

      I wonder why.

      It isn't clear, but the researchers hypothesize that laptop users tend to transcribe the lecture verbatim, while pen & paper users rephrase into their own words, which requires thinking about what is being said.

      • Also pen and paper are a hell of a lot quieter. Few things are more annoying than a room full of keyboards clicking and clacking.

      • by dwywit ( 1109409 )

        I just wish the IT program at my kids' school was a bit more....organised.

        Currently it's BYOx (Bring Your Own device), where YOU supply the windows/apple laptop. If it meets certain specs, you bring it to school, get a login to the school network, a free copy of Norton (if you didn't already have security software) and a free copy of MS Office.

        So I bought her a nice Toshiba Z20t hybrid - a tablet with detachable keyboard. SSD, fantastic battery life with 2 batteries - one in the tablet, another in the keybo

    • Presumably because handwriting your notes forces you to conceptualize and express your thoughts as compactly and efficiently as possible, which necessitates extra effort.
  • Imagine that you give a TV to a teenager. This TV has 100 channels. Two of those channels are educational. 98 channels are sex, drugs, rock n roll. What is your teenager going to watch?

    There is so much distraction with internet access that only a very disciplined person can make sensible choices all the time. I don't have the answer. Perhaps it involves parenting.

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday August 20, 2017 @01:08AM (#55051007)

      Imagine that you give a TV to a teenager. This TV has 100 channels. Two of those channels are educational. 98 channels are sex, drugs, rock n roll. What is your teenager going to watch?

      No question about it. My dorky nerd son is going to watch the science channels ... while explaining all the inaccuracies, like ignoring friction, or failing to account for relativity.

      Some fathers worry that their kid isn't really theirs. Not me.

    • I had a black-and-white TV as a kid in Silicon Valley during the late 1970's and early 1980's. Of the 100 channels, most had static, ABC, CBS and NBC came in clear, and Channel 2 (Oakland) came in clear if the SF Bay Area was under a cloud bank. Those channels I watched with my parents in the living room The only channel I watched consistently on my TV was PBS on Channel 54. Not only did it have educational programming, it had a ton of British TV shows like Dr. Who, Blake's Seven and Red Dwarf. I also had a
  • by Anonymous Coward

    That's really all there is to it. If you have good parents that get their kids ready for school at an early age, and keep them pressured/motivated to continue to work hard, they'll be fine. Shitty parents and a shitty home life, it is difficult to overcome that.

  • Heh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by skovnymfe ( 1671822 ) on Sunday August 20, 2017 @02:29AM (#55051139)
    Around here they're doing iPads, not laptops. The yearly repair budget alone is killing most of the schools.
    • Yeah. There's an enormous (but largely unprofitable) market for a good-sized tablet that's rugged enough to give to kids, cheap enough to hand out replacements for the ones that don't survive. The first goal ought to be to get rid of most of the paper textbooks -- I cringe when I see the fourth graders hiking past my house on the way to school, bent over from the weight of the backpacks.
    • They tried it here too. A complete disaster.
  • So the summary says there's been no measurable increase in test scores... okay.

    But the summary also asks "is it doing more harm than good?" without, as far as I can tell, providing any data that addresses that question, one way or the other. So why is that question even there?

    Are we supposed to imagine how it might be harmful? Has Maine perchance seen a spike in laptop-enabled crime, where bullies are using their government-provided laptops as bludgeons?

  • You have a kid quoted who sounds like he is very much being prepared for the real world, another part that claims laptops could be doing harm, yet another part that says there is no measurable gain - with the implication there's no loss either.

    So what if it does not raise test scores if the kids are actually LEARNING MORE.

    • So what if it does not raise test scores if the kids are actually LEARNING MORE.

      Good point!

      I was part of the computers from schools program by the BBC in the UK. Those certainly never raised test scores because there weren't any tests. I think by the time I could have taken a test (the mid 90s) the only computer related GCSEs were some very silly IT one that was completely worthless an my school didn't offer. Same for A levels two years later.

      But I taught myself how to program and that's my day job now.

  • This "Add tech to make kids smart" crap is brutally annoying. I have seen this since I was in school decades ago. There are certain things that schools are very very bad at teaching. One of the main reasons they suck at teaching things like languages and technology is that they focus on teaching things that can then be tested.

    With spoken languages it is way easier to test for verb conjugation than the ability to exchange ideas with another person in the language in question. The same goes with technology
  • Is it doing more harm than good? It's sucking up all the money that could be better spent. And always: Fuck Apple!
  • I remember a very young kid's program on the BCC Acorn computer that asked you to draw and colour a house for a girl on the screen. You could chose the colours for the door and the windows by putting in numbers. So a child of mine started putting in the numbers. Then we wondered, if they specified numbers from one to seven, what happened when you put in eight, what happened at sixteen, what happened with minus one, what happened with two and a half? To our delight we got flashing colours, we got some of the

  • Rapid change is upon us. In the past a good school record implied one would have a decent life. That is no longer true. These days there are less job opportunities for jobs that do not involve a lot of misery. College has also gone over the top in expense and incurring debts large enough to get a degree may be a seriously bad idea. We have already seen a large number of people dropping out of the workforce. I wonder if we are not also seeing young people sort of dropping out of education even though
  • At least not conceptually: you improve the curriculum and the teachers, and then student performance rises. That's what the evidence [asu.edu] shows: better instructors using better curricula get better results. That should be pretty intuitive, but better than that it's what the data tells us.

    So why don't more places try improving teaching and curricula?

    I think it's because people don't want schools to be very different from what they experienced, even when (or *especially* when) they have nothing but contempt for the schools they went to. So instead they tinker with superficial quick fixes. Many of these, like increased student testing, or computer in the classroom, would have value in a school that is already on the right track. In a school that is not making progress betting in a big way on computers alone is like putting a giant wing on your Honda Civic to make it go faster.

  • How about re-introduction of corporal punishment?

    Interrupted a teacher: X hits by a cane. Bullied a student: Y hits by a cane. Making fun of A-student: Z hits by a cane.

    Put a cane on the wall, hanging prominently in front of the class.

    Stop seeing male teachers as potential child molesters.

    • Stop seeing male teachers as potential child molesters.

      And start seeing them as potential child abusers, beating them with canes?

      Oh, I see you left another comment in this vein right at the same time, you're just trolling. Seems the education system failed you, if you can't imagine a better hobby. They must have beaten you too many times, it affected your imagination.

    • In today's schools? Be glad that there is no corporal punishment when you're a teacher, I wouldn't be so certain to be not on the receiving end.

  • You introduced pens, some pupils will be writing with them, some will poke the eyes of other pupils. You introduced books, some will read, some will draw penises in them. You introduced iPads: some will be browsing Wikipedia and Pubmed and some will be playing Angry Hippos.

    The only way to shift the balance between these two activities: productive and chaotic is enforcement. Enforcement with something that works:

    Corporal punishment.

    • Corporal punishment only did one thing for me: Making sure I don't get found out again. That did hone my skill, admittedly, in avoiding being detected and led to general distrust of anything that could represent an authority figure.

      In other words, I think it's a good thing.

  • by jon3k ( 691256 ) on Sunday August 20, 2017 @09:02AM (#55051959)

    Yet, after a decade and a half, and at a cost of about $12 million annually (around one percent of the state's education budget), Maine has yet to see any measurable increases on statewide standardized test scores.

    So what you're saying is we've managed to move children from paper to using laptops, which will actually prepare them for the future as adults, without any negative impact to learning? Sounds like a massive success to me.

  • after a decade and a half, and at a cost of about $12 million annually (around one percent of the state's education budget), Maine has yet to see any measurable increases on statewide standardized test scores.

    But government — unlike those greedy KKKorporations — just could not possibly have made such a mistake! Unaffected by profit and other ulterior motives, benevolent and omniscient government officials know better than their naive and easily-excitable subjects ever could.

    A corporation making

    • The question is rather, why does it work in Scandinavia and not in the US?

      • by mi ( 197448 )

        The question is rather, why does it work in Scandinavia

        Does it? Neither you, nor Bernie Sanders offer citations...

        Moreover, I argue, that it does not. Scandinavia — especially Norway and Denmark — hardly saw any fighting during WW2. Unlike, say, Germany, they had no destruction and their standard of living should be like or above that of the US. It decidedly is not — not even in Norway, where they pump plenty of oil. They are all nice countries, but they aren't as rich as the US.

        I say, w

        • I was in the US. Yes, a few are rich. A few more live in conditions that befit a third world country. Such extreme differences between the ultimately rich and the ultimately poor I have aside of there only seen in the Middle East and South East Asia.

          What do I gain out of "my" country being rich when I'm struggling to get by? And if I'm not struggling I have to fear that someone who does kills me for the 20 bucks I may have in my wallet.

          Again, I have never seen this kind of problem in any other industrialize

          • by mi ( 197448 )

            Personal anecdotes are no substitute for statistics. You had a request to cite statistics and an opportunity to do it — yet, chose not to. The only conclusion is, you aren't aware of any.

            What do I gain out of "my" country being rich when I'm struggling to get by?

            Irrelevant and off-topic.

            Only in the US.

            I call bullshit. Or, to put it politely, "I'm sorry you feel this way".

  • I can't speak for Maine but I work in K-12 in the midwest. The goal is very simply to hire as few teachers as possible at as low pay as possible.

    They've given a small carrot and a lot of sticks to getting rid of the older higher paid (and experienced teachers). They've completely gutted teacher's unions with legislation the only thing they're good for at all anymore is suing and even that is questionable.

    They're using things like Edgenuity which is supposed to be used primarily for remediation in place of r

    • When there is no way to learn anything useful at school, every minute you spend there is wasted, and if you absolutely have to be there, every minute you spend there awake is wasted.

  • Here is the discussion we had in 2000 about this matter [slashdot.org]. Some things change, others remain the same...

  • Seriously, I'm asking, why did anyone expect laptops to have a positive impact on test scores? Unless of course that laptop has internet access and may be used during tests, since 99% of our tests are geared towards regurgitating something, so the answer can easily be googled. But for learning?

    Take a look at how those laptops are being used by the kids and, more importantly, how they are integrated into the class by the teachers: Not at all. How would they? You expect teachers who have exactly ZERO clue abo

  • The base materials (the students and the teachers) have a far greater impact on the end results that the tools used to do the polishing.

    Most teachers are unable to get a degree in the subjects they teach. That should tell you something about the quality of our education system.

    The average public school teacher is an overpaid daycare worker at best. Time for something different.

  • I often feel people believe computers are magic learning devices. They're not. They're useful tools, but tools need to be utilised effectively. And you need the right tool for the job. Sometimes that tool is a computer. Sometimes not.
  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Sunday August 20, 2017 @11:14AM (#55052417) Homepage

    Who said that the goal of using them was to raise test scores? Why is that even a meaningful metric?

    The benefit of putting laptops in schools is that kids learn how to use laptops. They learn about the networks and the internet, they learn how to use a mouse and how to type, they learn about digital data, they learn responsible use of those laptops. They have fun. They see how the world really works.

    No matter what the result, if a headline has the word "test scores" in it everyone will go insane. If the scores didn't go up, it means schools aren't working. If the scores did go up, it's because they are teaching the test. Test scores measure certain things well, and other things not at all. In this case, you might as well say that introducing laptops failed to change the price of milk. It would be just as relevant.

    • Kids learn how to use laptops/computers/phones without any instruction, I'm quite sure my 5 year old niece didn't learn how to use it at school

  • Technology will not magically make a poor teacher better. The reality is that technology only supplements learning in the classroom. There still needs to be competent, professional teachers that are paid a realistic living and treated as such.
  • Dear lord, Maine 'invested' $12M x 15 years, or $180M, in something that had no appreciable impact on student test scores?!?!

    Telling me it is just 1% of their education budget has me wondering what in the world Maine is getting for their $1.2BN 'investment' in public education.

    Maine has a voucher program [cato.org] that puts 15-20% of the state's children in private schools - did they get laptops as well? Probably not...

    Interesting how this voucher program, open to all children in the state, has been going since 1973,

  • isn't that you picked the wrong one-size-fits-all solution...

  • was the goal to raise grades? It may have been the stated intention but by coincidence they make it easier for teachers to handle assignments and generally cut the teaching workload outside of the classroom so that eventually they can cut teachers. Have they also been used as in-school child minding. Really, between adding distractions and creating filler periods with creative names like "extended learning time" they have watered down the actual human teaching time enormously.
  • Just throwing devices at the problem doesn't help anyone.

    Technology has to be integrated properly into the curriculum very carefully and used in very specific ways to have a benefit on learning.

    My child's school was super hot to trot on equipping kids in their grade school with iPads.. and it seemed to me like no one stopped to ask.. why? How will it help? In what ways?

    I'm all for using it as a program to make sure that all children have access and experience with computers and the Internet etc.. it level

  • Computers are a tool, one which damn near every employer expects proficiency.

    Expecting a computer to raise test scores is like expecting wrenches to make a competent mechanic.

    What's scary is that our educators expected computers to actually raise test scores....somehow....by magic.

    Isn't that the sole purpose of the teaching profession?

  • I did a college level research paper on technology use in the classroom a couple years ago. Every source I found concluded technology expenditures did not improve core subject learning. The only benefit was exposure to equipment students would later need in the workforce, but that often came at the expense of measured progress on standardized tests. The surprising conclusion I came to was this isn't just an American thing. According to the UN, underdeveloped nations don't see the expected gains by putting l
    • Done lots of research into the use of technology in (university-level) education, and the conclusions that you came to are relevant there too. The problem is that the buying, distributing and supporting of laptops or tablets is by far the easy part, so it is the bit that gets done. The hard part is in understanding that, as the device gives students access to all the facts that the teacher would normally regurgitate and allows for advanced things like running simulations, the learning approach needs to chan

  • Every initiative I've seen to impose a particular type of device on school kids has been an unmitigated disaster.

    The happy ending is that many of these schools have now gone platform agnostic and provide Chromebooks or refurbished Linux laptops and allowing BYOD. So long as they have a working browser and a screen bigger than 8 inches they don't care what you bring.

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