Friday, July 1, 2016

The Bipolar Literature on Technology in U.S. Schools | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

The Bipolar Literature on Technology in U.S. Schools | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:

The Bipolar Literature on Technology in U.S. Schools


Reform-minded researchers, techno-enthusiasts, and skeptics in the U.S. have created an immense, convoluted literature on the use and effectiveness of computers in classroom, schools, and districts. It is a literature that is bipolar.
At one end there is the fiercely manic accumulation of success stories of teachers and schools that use devices imaginatively and, according to some researchers, demonstrate small to moderate gains in test scores, increased student engagement, teacher satisfaction, and other desired outcomes (see here andhere). These success stories, often teacher surveys and self-reports, clothed as scientific studies (see here and here) beat the drum directly or hum the tune just loud enough for others to hear that these new technologies, especially if they are student-centered (see here) and “personalize learning” (see here), are just short of magical in their engaging disengaged children and youth in learning.
At the other end is the depressing collection of studies that show disappointing results, even losses, in academic achievement and the lack of substantial change in teaching methods during and after use of the new technologies (see here andhere). Included are tales told by upset teachers, irritated parents, and disillusioned school board members who authorized technological expenditures (see herehere, and here).
These two poles of manic and depressive research studies replicate the long-term struggle between factions of Progressives who vowed to reform public schools beginning in the early 20th century. The efficiency-driven, teacher-centered wing of these Progressives whipped the experiential, whole-child, student-centered wing then but these losers in the struggle have returned time and again to preach and teach the ideology they hold so dear. Each pole of this spectrum, then, recapitulates the century-old struggle but this time the slogans and phrases are embedded in the language of new technologies. “Project-based learning” and “personalized learning” have been appropriated by current reformers who, still seeking efficiency and productivity in teaching and learning have adopted the language of their historical opponents. Knowing this historical backdrop, however, does not create a middle to this continuum. And that is necessary.
Reducing modestly the bipolarity of this literature are individual and collective case studies (see here), carefully done ethnographies (see here), and meta-The Bipolar Literature on Technology in U.S. Schools | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:

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