Wednesday, December 22, 2010

More evidence that public schools are hopeless

This story is being filed in the "Why education reform never works" file.

According to the News & Observer, North Carolina school districts are "using their Race to the Top funds to advance structural reform by… purchasing iPads." Durham, N.C., says the report, is spending $3.5 million in Race to the Top funds to “put Apple iPads in the hands of students and teachers at two low-performing schools.” “Our kids are telling us, ‘This is how we learn. This is what we want,’” says Durham Public Schools Superintendent Eric Becoats.

Yeah. I bet. They probably want lunch time extended to three hours, but don't tell Superintendent Becoats. Says Frederick Hess at Education Next:

Ah-ha, yes, this is the change we’ve been waiting for. Look, I own an iPad. I like the iPad. But I’ll tell you, when I’ve been to schools that feature one-to-one computing, personal computers, and iPads, they seem to get mostly used in one of two ways. Neither impresses me. The first involves students working on graphics, clip art, powerpoints, or adding sound and visual effects to video shorts. The second is students Googling their way to Wikipedia for material to cut-and-paste into powerpoints or word files.

This was all brought home to me again, just the other week, when I had a chance to spend a couple days visiting acclaimed “technology-infused” high schools. Yet, most of what I saw the technology being used for was either content-lite or amounted to students using Google-cum-Wikipedia as a latter day World Book Encyclopedia. Making powerpoints and video shorts is nice, but it’s only us “digital tourists” who think it reflects impressive learning.

I'm sure I will be attacked once again as an enemy of public education, but with friends like those in the Durham, North Carolina school district, public schools don't need enemies like me.

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