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Oversold and Underused: Computers in the Classroom

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Impelled by a demand for increasing American strength in the new global economy, many educators, public officials, business leaders, and parents argue that school computers and Internet access will improve academic learning and prepare students for an information-based workplace. But just how valid is this argument? In Oversold and Underused, one of the most respected voice Impelled by a demand for increasing American strength in the new global economy, many educators, public officials, business leaders, and parents argue that school computers and Internet access will improve academic learning and prepare students for an information-based workplace. But just how valid is this argument? In Oversold and Underused, one of the most respected voices in American education argues that when teachers are not given a say in how the technology might reshape schools, computers are merely souped-up typewriters and classrooms continue to run much as they did a generation ago. In his studies of early childhood, high school, and university classrooms in Silicon Valley, Larry Cuban found that students and teachers use the new technologies far less in the classroom than they do at home, and that teachers who use computers for instruction do so infrequently and unimaginatively. Cuban points out that historical and organizational economic contexts influence how teachers use technical innovations. Computers can be useful when teachers sufficiently understand the technology themselves, believe it will enhance learning, and have the power to shape their own curricula. But these conditions can't be met without a broader and deeper commitment to public education beyond preparing workers. More attention, Cuban says, needs to be paid to the civic and social goals of schooling, goals that make the question of how many computers are in classrooms trivial.


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Impelled by a demand for increasing American strength in the new global economy, many educators, public officials, business leaders, and parents argue that school computers and Internet access will improve academic learning and prepare students for an information-based workplace. But just how valid is this argument? In Oversold and Underused, one of the most respected voice Impelled by a demand for increasing American strength in the new global economy, many educators, public officials, business leaders, and parents argue that school computers and Internet access will improve academic learning and prepare students for an information-based workplace. But just how valid is this argument? In Oversold and Underused, one of the most respected voices in American education argues that when teachers are not given a say in how the technology might reshape schools, computers are merely souped-up typewriters and classrooms continue to run much as they did a generation ago. In his studies of early childhood, high school, and university classrooms in Silicon Valley, Larry Cuban found that students and teachers use the new technologies far less in the classroom than they do at home, and that teachers who use computers for instruction do so infrequently and unimaginatively. Cuban points out that historical and organizational economic contexts influence how teachers use technical innovations. Computers can be useful when teachers sufficiently understand the technology themselves, believe it will enhance learning, and have the power to shape their own curricula. But these conditions can't be met without a broader and deeper commitment to public education beyond preparing workers. More attention, Cuban says, needs to be paid to the civic and social goals of schooling, goals that make the question of how many computers are in classrooms trivial.

30 review for Oversold and Underused: Computers in the Classroom

  1. 5 out of 5

    Joy

    By examining use of computers in Silicon Valley area schools, arguably one of the most technically advanced education settings, Cuban shows us how merely providing computers in every classroom fails to accomplish much sought after teaching reform. Worse, EdTech enthusiasts tend to equate improvements in education with economic gains, thereby totally bypassing the civic and democratic mission of public education. Cuban thinks that without changing our social structures, work environments, and ass By examining use of computers in Silicon Valley area schools, arguably one of the most technically advanced education settings, Cuban shows us how merely providing computers in every classroom fails to accomplish much sought after teaching reform. Worse, EdTech enthusiasts tend to equate improvements in education with economic gains, thereby totally bypassing the civic and democratic mission of public education. Cuban thinks that without changing our social structures, work environments, and assumptions about what teachers can and should do, technological reform will not successfully revolutionize 21st century education, and will not lead to increased worker productivity. His most critical insight revolves around the absolute necessity for teachers to be brought into the reform process; indeed, the only successful tech reform ventures he mentions stem from coalitions between teachers, nonprofits, and administrators, which thoroughly consider the context of use and purpose of wiring up. Cuban insists that educators must ask: "...will spending our limited educational funds to sustain technology bring us closer to the larger democratic purposes that are at the heart and soul of public schooling in America?" For the real kicker: "And without a broader vision of the social and civic role that schools perform in a democratic society, our current excessive focus on technology use in school runs the danger of trivializing our nations core ideals." And what's happening in higher education, over ten years after the publication of this book, is just that. We still haven't really thought about it. But perhaps I can say that we're starting to? Here's my two cents: the real importance of tech education has to do with the ability of citizens to engage with and modify the technological world around them. The importance rests in user-centered movements that tap into creativity and diversity, and don't reduce users (either students or teachers) to consumers. Chris Kelty's amazing book The Cultural Significance of Free Software takes up these themes. Here's a promising and awesome project for open courseware along these lines: http://www.openassembly.com/. I'm cautiously optimistic.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tara Brabazon

    I have just completed my sixth reading of this book. It is an absolute classic monograph of digital dissent. Cuban has one premise: to dissolve the assumption that more technology creates better learning. In Oversold and Underused, he succeeds better than any other writer. Courageous and well written, anyone interested in online learning should start here.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Levaria

    I had to read it for school. While a lot of it is still relevant (because many schools in the USA are about the level of the studied teachers/schools in Silicon Valley in this study). I simply did not enjoy reading it--uninteresting and overly bland.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michelle's Book

    I was given an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. This book cover is on my Pinterest board and my blog, Michelle Dragalin’s Journey.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jilane

  6. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Cohen

  7. 5 out of 5

    M. Serhat

  8. 4 out of 5

    Emily H.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Allison

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    Jessica

  11. 5 out of 5

    Daniel C Burke

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jolene

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  14. 4 out of 5

    Painting

  15. 5 out of 5

    Håkan Fleischer

  16. 4 out of 5

    Samia

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  18. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

  19. 4 out of 5

    Neema

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jesper Balslev

  22. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Carr

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    Vicki

  25. 5 out of 5

    Renae

  26. 5 out of 5

    Miranda Ferguson

  27. 4 out of 5

    Juan

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mary

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rob

  30. 5 out of 5

    Molly Bullock

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