NYT story on technology and education: lots of trees, not so much forest

Yesterday's New York Times has a big piece on technology in education that's worth your time: In Classroom of Future, Stagnant Scores. And while it's a useful read, this kind of story, to me, illustrates issues in both education and journalism.

As much as I love technology, as a student of Neil Postman, I always ask "what problem are we trying to solve," and asking that about kindergartners on laptops returns the null set. Also, I'm painfully aware that gadgets do nothing without the other two legs of the stool: professional development and robust tech support. We still have classrooms that would be familiar to students from Sumer; just adding technology is not transformation.

But this is a failure of journalism, too. There's no apparent awareness of situatedness within the shift from literate to digital culture, and there is an untested belief that we should have definitive, measurable data this early (and yes, just ~30 years of computers in education is early; this is a very big pig going through a very sluggish python's digestive system).

I'm wondering if Plato's students would have done better on standardized tests of oratory in a curriculum delivered through writing.

Sorry to spew. Just makes me cranky.