Education technology does not seem to be solving our education woes. So concludes this impressively-reported New York Times story on an Arizona school district that has spent $33 million since 2006 on the ed. establishment’s usual panaceas of “whiteboards,” laptops, and interactive computer programs. Despite this outpouring from the taxpayer cornucopia, test scores have remained flat.
Big surprise. Educational technology would be the solution to mediocre academic performance only if the lack of educational technology were the cause. Somehow, however, John Milton managed to learn Latin, Greek, and Hebrew without an Ipad, as did thousands of other children far less gifted than he; generations upon generations have mastered algebra, geometry, and the rudiments of historical knowledge just reading from—gasp!—books!
The most important tools in the classroom are self-discipline, perseverance, and a desire to learn (or, failing that, fear of the consequences for not doing so). Don’t expect the ed. establishment and its by now massive orbiting planetary system of consultants, foundations, and contractors to acknowledge that fact, however, since it would entail getting back to basics, restoring order, intellectual authority, and discipline in the classroom, and demanding hard work from children and commitment from parents. All that is far too judgmental and socially divisive. Not to mention that it would defund the highly-profitable ed. industry