Reading or watching a story in the popular media about how technology is being used in schools usually makes me cringe. Â Take for example a recent article in the New York Times about schools embracing iPads.
The two digital pages include several extremely superficial examples of classroom use that include over-the-top quotes like “I think this could very well be the biggest thing to hit school technology since the overhead projector.” from a principal.
And this observation, “It has brought individual technology into the classroom without changing the classroom atmosphere”, which is rather scary since a truly successful 1-1 program should change the classroom in some very significant ways.
Plus the incredible instance of the school that “converted an empty classroom into a lab with 36 iPads – named the iMaginarium – that has become the centerpiece of the school because, as the principal put it, “of all the devices out there, the iPad has the most star power with kids.”
Don’t get me wrong, I think the iPad and other touch tablets have a lot of potential as learning tools and, if we are ever going to break out of the teacher-centered, lecture/demo, traditional classroom, students will need to have some kind of easy to use, always connected, personal communication device.
However, until that potential is better realized, I wish reporters at the Times and elsewhere would pay closer attention to people like Larry Cuban who very correctly observes “There is very little evidence that kids learn more, faster or better by using these machines.”