Here's an interesting article on technology in - or in the case, not - the classroom.
A montessori school in the heart of Silicon Valley eschews technology until 8th grade, and even then it's limited.
I'm curious, what's the best use of technology you've seen in K-8? Do you think it really teaches?
Honestly, I can’t say that I’m surprised to hear this. For the past twenty years we’ve adopted this kind of “shoot first, ask questions later” approach to bringing technology into the classroom. We’ve spent billions on this initiative, but the research (from what I can tell, at least) is still shaky as whether or not this stuff is actually benefitting our students.
I mean, look, I by no means believe that a classroom should be completely devoid of computers. However, I do think that the representative from Google, whom the article quotes, is quite right. Computers have gotten to the point where anybody, from 5 to 95, can use them. The days of the command line interfaces are gone; now everything is point and click. As a result, people can learn to use these things with a shocking amount of speed and ease. It’s to the point where using a computer is like breathing –there’s not much to it. But it’s those other skills, like critical thinking, creativity, or literacy, that can’t be taught quickly or through a Google search. That’s the stuff that schools need to focus on.
A perfect example of this is this article where researchers designed a fake website about a tree-inhabiting octopus and then showed it to students. The students reviewed it, and then said that the website was actually credible.
Indeed, as good as technology is, I still think there is no substitution for a good teacher. A good teacher can teach you from inside a paper bag, and you'd still come away learning. In any case, I think to some extent technology teaches, we just can't allow ourselves to get so caught up with it that we stop seeing the forest from the trees.
But, then again, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the article is just another case of billionaires being billionaires, and them willing to shell out big bucks so they can say that their children to go an exclusive school.