Thursday, March 30, 2017

Technology “Disrupting” Teaching (Part 2) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Technology “Disrupting” Teaching (Part 2) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:

Technology “Disrupting” Teaching (Part 2)

Image result for computer teacher

In the previous post, I argued that the onset of digital technologies since the 1990s had “disrupted” the print media beholden to a business model anchored in advertising revenues. Newspapers closed; reporters let go. Digital media spread swiftly and most Americans now get their news from screens, not newsprint.
Organizations that had not existed two decades ago such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter dispense news to their followers. New technologies had surely changed the institutional terrain of the newspaper world. But had these new technologies also irreversibly altered the practice of news gathering, writing, and publishing particularly investigative journalism?
I argued that core practices have remained constant in the midst of institutional meltdown. The practice of investigative journalism (as shown in procedural films, TV shows, and books such as “All the President’s Men,” “Lou Grant,” and “Spotlight”) not only still existed in the now smaller world of print media but also had mushroomed in cyberspace. Even with the proliferation of computer devices and software and their daily use in gathering and publishing news stories, reporters hewed to well-honed practices at  the heart of the craft called investigative journalism.
Have the new technologies that “disrupted” print media as a business done the same in public education? Have the new technologies used by schools and in classrooms altered the practice of teaching and learning? These questions I take up in this post.
Have the new technologies “disrupted” education?
The answer is no. The screeching rhetoric of new technologies “revolutionizing”  schooling in the U.S. and that  by 2020 online instruction at home and in the community will be how most children and youth learn (see hereherehere, and here)  is, well, talk. That rose-tinted future has yet to emerge from behind the curtain.
Surely, new technologies have spilled over public schools since the early 1980s and especially in the past decade. As student access to new devices and software has increased, so has teacher use in daily lessons. Laptops and tablets have become the new pen and paper in classrooms across the U.S. While for- and non-profit cyber schools have grown and online instruction has expanded in public schools,  bricks-and-mortar, age-graded public and private schools still remain the established institution they have been since the early 19th century. No “disruption” as predicted has occurred (see here and here).
Have the new technologies used by schools and in classrooms altered the practice of teaching and learning?
Depends on what “altered” means? Yes, teachers have said often in surveys and interviews that they now use new technologies to expand the resources students use in lessons, deepen the content they teach, and save time and energy in running down sources for their students while more efficiently recording grades and taking attendance. Using digital tools more frequently than  before, teachers have, indeed, changed how they access information, broaden the sources Technology “Disrupting” Teaching (Part 2) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:


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