28 mars 2012

"Promise of technology" (Critical Guide, E.D. Hirsch Jr)

   The phrase suggests that computers will revolutionize and transform schooling. Caution is called for. 

   Some explanation is needed for the fact that student scores have not significantly risen in schools that have been well supplied with computers. Many reasons for this disappointment have been offered: teachers have not learned how to use these instruments; good software is slow in coming; the school has not become fully computerized. Undoubtedly, computers will be able to enhance pedagogical principles that are already known to work. 

   One fears, however, that the enthusiasm for computers is based upon a confidence in technical solutions that has not been well explained in theory or well documented in experience. 
   Most of all, one fears that enthusiasm for computers will simply reinforce and prolong the now discredited tool conception of education, which claims falsely that education consists ideally in learning the tools that will enable one to learn things in the future - and what better tool for this purpose could there be than the computer? 

   But there is no evidence that its advent has reduced the need for students to have in their minds well-practiced habits and readily available knowledge. Quite the contrary, the more one looks things up via computer, the more often one needs to understand what one is looking up. There is no evidence that a well-stocked and well-equipped mind can be displaced by "accessing skills."

Antipathy to subject-matter content  

"banking theory of schooling" 
"culturally-biased curriculum" 
"outcomes-based education" 
"research has shown"

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This was an excerpt from Hirsch's great book on education :
The Schools We Need 
 and Why We Don't Have Them.
Recension by Richard Askey :  

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