Listen, if anyone tells you that the “way out” of our present crisis in traditional education is “computers” – just run away.
Computers are no more going to solve any educational problems than changing the color off the paint in the rooms of classrooms. Going back to the 1980s “computers” were tooted as the savior of all educational problems. Nothing changed. Clinton in the 90s talked about “wiring every classroom”… the internet was going to change everything and save all. Nothing changed.
Computers have done nothing to help children learn or improve how or what they learn. As Christensen points out in his book Disrupting Class, we’ve “spent billions putting computers into US schools, [and] it has resulted in little change in how students learn”. He actually thinks that there’s still a way to do it, but he’s mistaken. Using computers, whether it’s virtual classrooms or allowing greater access to teachers, will not change anything worth talking about. This is because you haven’t changed anything fundamental. Until we get to the root of the problem, we’re merely tinkering.
The problem is not one of insufficient information, it’s a problem of “style” – call it that. It’s the general approach that is faulty – much like “the medium in the message”, the “style is the problem”. We have to raise our view up to a higher level to see this.
Computers are great, and they have a legitimate place in the process of education. But they are a tool, a new modern tool alongside pencils, rulers, pens, etc. Nothing more. Computers won’t help you develop thought or independence or resourcefulness or adaptability. These are the things that are lacking and which represent the real “outcomes” that we need to reach for.