Help, I’m Drowning in Icy Teas!

If you believe that computers are about to usher in a new age in education, you need to learn how computers actually work.  If you think that digital technology will revolutionise the classroom, then you are ignoring history.  If you crow that “children are born digital” or that their parents are “digital immigrants”, then you are not paying attention to the real world and the meanings of the words you use.

Let me lay out a few facts for you; facts, not opinions, hypotheses or suppositions, but verifiable indisputable facts arising from the use of digital technology in schools over a period of more than thirty years, by millions of school children, across the entire globe:

  • There has never been an independent, peer reviewed study that has shown a positive correlation between computer use and improvements in any of the key assessment indicators.
  • It is not possible to tell, from literacy and numeracy scores, which schools are using digital technologies in their teaching and which are not.
  • No educational jurisdiction anywhere in the world has a practical outline or model of “e-ducation”, “i-Learning” or any other form of digitally enhanced pedagogy based on a comprehensive theory of “ICT” enhanced education.
  • The masses of testimonials, cheers and positive support for “ICT”, which are often distributed as “research”  are merely self-serving anecdotal hear-say coming from people with a vested interest in the outcome of the debate.
  • Independent, peer-reviewed studies do exist which show a null or negative correlation between digital technology and study scores, while showing positive support only for the lowest forms of rote learning techniques.

Thirty years of putting computers in front of millions of the world’s school children  have resulted in nothing of significant classroom benefit whatsoever. The problems that have plagued classrooms, curriculum design and content delivery techniques remain unsolved. Schools are as poor, dirty,  irrelevant and out-of-touch as they ever were.  Students are disaffected and disenchanted despite a nearly one-to-one ratio of computers to students. Industry leaders continue to complain of a decline in the basic literacy and numeracy skills of job applicants and a lack of fundamental thinking skills in the workforce. Does this sound like the result of a revolution in education to you?

In this space, I will examine some of the prevailing myths behind this supposed “revolution”. I will point out the deliberate misdirection, confusions and wish fulfillment that mask the truth from those who lack a background in both teaching and technology. I will show you why a school without computers is no worse off than a train that has lost its rudder.

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