Friday, August 15, 2003

Smart classrooms require effort, too 

From Newmark's Door, an article that argues what education needs now is more training of teachers to use PCs. The article, reporting from a conference on educational computing, says we train them to use a PC, but not how to teach with it. The answer of government is of course more money -- a fourth of the technology money that goes to schools in the No Child Left Behind Act boondoggle must now go to training. (I hear the gravy train coming, it's coming around the bend...) Prof. Newmark makes the point:
the main problem is not how the teachers use PCs, it's the grossly inflated expectations of what PCs can do for student learning. I'm old enough to remember when film strips where going to "revolutionize" education. Then HP calculators. Then TVs in the classrooms. Now, PCs. But the thing that hasn't changed--and I daresay will never change--is most things that are worth learning require effort.
I have set up chatrooms for classes of ninety students, and only two show up. We have had people use WebCT -- and students don't want to deal with that. Why? Could it be the material we teach? Crap in a shiny new red wagon is still crap.