Technology and teaching

From the Diane Ravitch blog:
William Doyle describes an emerging international consensus about the appropriate and limited use of technology in the classroom.

Doyle starts from the proposition that “Technology in the classroom has so far had little positive effect on childhood learning.”

That’s the stunning finding of the OECDs September 2015 report “Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection.” The report found that despite billions of dollars of frantic government spending, where ICTs [information and communications technologies] are used, their impact on student performance has been “mixed, at best,” in the words of the OECD’s Andreas Schleicher. “In most countries, the current use of technology is already past the point of optimal use in schools,” said Schleicher. “We’re at a point where computers are actually hurting learning.”

I am so glad to see this. My own bias is clear: I could not function in a modern classroom despite being a very good teacher. My connection is with people and I know how to work a room. There is no doubt that technology can add to this and, in some instances, enable it. But what has happened now is that the ability to use complex computer technology has become a sine qua non of ordinary classroom teaching. Younger people simply assume you can do grades, lesson plans, presentations, and so forth on a computer. I cannot.  Secret: I am looking at a part-time job teaching a foreign language and it is terrifying because not only do I have to get past the rigor = grammar mindset but also show my expertise in computers.

My only question is: why doesn’t HR insist on a demonstration of an applicant’s ability to work a room?

That was brought home to me when I picked my granddaughter up from her second day of high school and we got to talking about how I dealt with an out-of-control classroom as a sub. Step-by-step we went through it and I realized how often I had observed teachers who skip the steps or handle them badly. Yet there is no interview process for that except to ask the prospect what they would do. Which responses are acceptable and which are unacceptable? Does anyone know?

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