In a recent post, long-time education writer and edtech critic Larry Cuban asks “Whatever Happened to Interactive Whiteboards?”.
Good question, although if you look in most classrooms in this area, they’re still hanging on the wall. They aren’t necessarily being used, but at the price schools paid for those things, devices like IWBs don’t get thrown out until they cease functioning.
When I was a kid, some products would prominently display in their ads the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval”, awarded by the magazine of the same name. I don’t remember ever reading any fine print explaining how they earned that label, but the implication was that this item was better in some way than the one next to it on the store shelf.1 Continue reading
Dean Shareski, a Canadian educator I’ve known a long time through his writing, Twitter, and interactions at many conferences, recently wrote on his blog that “I Don’t Think I’m an EdTech Guy Anymore”. His reasoning is hard to argue with.
Although we could have another millennial-class argument about the timing, most people have decided we started a new decade on January 1. Which means we also get lots of retrospectives on the previous ten years. I guess that’s better than trying to make historic sense of only the past twelve months.
In one of the more entertaining entries, posted just before the turn of the calendar, The Verge offered their review of the 84 Biggest Flops, Fails, and Dead Dreams of the Decade in Tech.
While cleaning out some boxes recently, I ran across a book about educational technology that I first read almost twenty years ago, early in my time working with tech coaches to help teachers integrate computers in their classrooms.
In the book, “Oversold and Underused”, the author observed that teachers were not making effective use of all the new technology that was flooding into schools, and that most of the applications simply reproduced traditional practices. It certainly rang a bell with what I was seeing.
Flash forward to now, has anything changed?
Schools have greatly increased spending on devices, software, and network connections in the past twenty years. But we still are not making meaningful use of all that stuff. And we seem to be trying harder than ever to wedge technology into a traditional classroom model.
Of course, the big difference from twenty years ago is that many, if not most, of our students are carrying powerful networking devices in their pockets. Devices they use to communicate, create, and learn. Acquiring knowledge and learning skills in which they are interested, but likely unrelated to the curriculum required in their formal schooling.
Beginning well before the beginning of this century, we were told that computers would revolutionize education. The technology is undoubtedly here, but we’re still waiting for the educational revolution.