According to a study in Jefferson County schools, Kentucky, the $30 million the district has spent on computer technology over the past decade has done little to improve teaching and learning. The cause of the big disconnect, according to the report, is that "most teachers, administrators and students lack the skills to use computers to increase academic achievement".
So, why do they lack the skills? Same old story.
Teachers are pressed for time and face competing demands. Technology training in college, and on the job, is often minimal. There may be only a handful of computers in each classroom — many outdated and unable to run new software. And getting to the better-equipped computer labs requires juggling of classroom schedules.
I really don’t know why school administrators have so much education and are still so stupid. It makes no sense to spend millions on computers without have a solid plan to train teachers and other staff to make the best use of them.
There’s a much bigger problem, however. The people running the education business perpetually believe that just adding a new technology to the same old classroom will actually improve teaching and learning. We did it with film, television, stand-alone computers, the internet and continue today with portable computing.
I’m no good at predicting the future. However, I’d bet that a decade from now another school district in the US will issue yet another report about wasting millions on some new technology with no improvement in learning.
The kids don’t learn because we don’t learn. We keep doing the same old thing with shiny new tools grafted on the side.