I agree completely. In 1998 computer scientist Elliot Solloway observed
that "...by and large, schools use only software that comes already
installed on the machine (a word processor, a spreadsheet, a drawing
program)... computers are being used as typewriters. Its heartbreaking."
Computers are just the latest incarnation of new technology as a magic
bullet. In 1922 Thomas Alva Edison -- not normally thought of as an
imbecile -- wrote this about the motion picture:
"I believe that the motion picture is destined to revolutionise our
educational system and that in a few years it will supplant largely, if
not entirely, the use of textbooks. I should say that we get about two
percent efficiency out of schoolbooks as they are written today. The
education of the future, as I see it, will be conducted through the medium
of the motion picture where it should be possible to obtain one hundred
That obviously didn't happen. Neither did "universities of the airwaves"
with radio and except for a very few exceptional examples like Sesame
Street and The Electric Company, neither did television. And neither will
computers, and for all the same reasons.
It's not that computers are of zero value in the classroom; it's that
teachers by and large are computer-phobic and not taught to use anything
other than the web and M$ office and maybe, just maybe, front page.
Sometimes HyperStudio but from what I've heard from people who graduated
with their teaching credential from my institution, the HS class was
taught by somebody who didn't know anything about it.
My kids have been in US public schools for 6 years. Every year I've asked
the kids about computer usage (little to none), asked whether they even
were functional (frequently not) and checked them out myself to see that
there's basically NOTHING installed and working.
I wrote a little multiplication bingo game to help my kids learn their
multiplication tables and gave a license to each of their two teachers.
Neither one could figure out how to install it/use it.
I have college students who don't understand the concept of FILE FORMATS
or that they can't overwrite files that they still need to have; who can't
figure out what they named their file or where they saved it. Who can't
login to a system where their login and password are first initial last
I kid you not.
On Tue, 25 Oct 2011, Jeff
> having run a high school computer lab and taught multimedia there its really
> true that they are oversold and underused. it takes a lot of creativity and
> flexibility to find when and where you get a hight bang for the buck to use
> computers in the classroom, otherwise you are just spending a lot of time and
> money that yields negative learning returns... i do fear taking the other
> extreme can be just as problematic.