J.R. Wilson, one of the founders of Truth in American Education, sends out a daily email with interesting links related to education and he finds some good articles that don’t show up in my Google Alerts or Feedly. An article in PC Magazine is one such article. John Dvorak wrote an opinion that seems contrary to the purpose of the website.
I agree. Here’s an excerpt:
The computer can be—and is—used as a testing station. It does that well. Papers can be written on the computer. The student can learn keyboarding and some programming skills. It can expedite the submission of papers and speed up the writing process. But as a raw teaching tool, the computer has never been that good.
If there is nothing else available and you have one teacher per 200 students, then maybe it’s better than nothing. But the machines are expensive and need constant replacement. In short, the whole computers in the classroom idea was a Silicon Valley scam to dump computers and complex networking gear on some suckers with a government purse.
The money is better spent on sincere and hard-working teachers whose job it is to teach and can do a better job than a Windows 10 rig.
So what needs to be done? At this point in history, kids do need computer literacy skills and one classroom filled with machines where computer literacy and coding is taught. This lab would also be available to students to do homework and write papers if they have no equipment at home.
The architecture would be internet-centric, but not dependent. Students would have their homework as storage on personal USB thumb drives.
I disagree with using the computer as a testing station, at least for standardized testing, but the rest I think is spot on. Kids don’t need computers in the classroom. Students don’t need the school to provide laptops or tablets for students to take home.
It’s a waste of money that doesn’t help teach kids or raise student achievement.