Monday, October 04, 2004


It’s nice to know that a national organization sees the same problems Go Big Ed sees with computers in the classroom. Not only is there a disturbing change in intellectual processes caused by ‘’screen-based learning,’’ but there’s a disturbing wedge driven into the teacher-student relationship. Then there’s the commercialization and trivialization of school curriculum. And there’s the wooing by vendors using fancy trips and whatnot to get lucrative contracts for school materials, including computer equipment, out of school officials.

See last month’s ‘’Laptops of Luxury’’ series on educational technology on Go Big Ed, and then check out the report ‘’Tech Tonic: Towards a New Literacy of Technology’’ on

The Alliance for Childhood is a nonprofit partnership of educators, health professionals, researchers, parents and other child advocates, based in Maryland. Here are excerpts from their press release:

‘’New report says government and high-tech industry foist expensive and unproven technology on schools, hurting children and undermining real technology literacy

‘’Sept. 30, 2004—The high-tech, screen-centered life style of today’s children—at home and at school—is a health hazard and the polar opposite of the education they need to take part in making ethical choices in a high-tech democracy, according to a new report released today by the Alliance for Childhood.

‘’Tech Tonic: Towards a New Literacy of Technology challenges education standards and industry assertions that all teachers and children, from preschool up, should use computers in the classroom to develop technology literacy. That expensive agenda ignores evidence that high-tech classrooms have done little if anything to improve student achievement, the report says.

‘’The report strongly criticizes the extensive financial and political connections between education officials and school technology vendors. It urges citizens to wake up to the increasing influence of corporations in policymaking for public education.

“The lack of evidence or an expert consensus that computers will improve student achievement—despite years of efforts by high-tech companies and government agencies to demonstrate otherwise—is itself compelling evidence of the need for change,” Tech Tonic states. “It’s time to scrap . . . national, state, and local policies that require all students and all teachers to use computers in every grade, and that eliminate even the possibility of alternatives.”

‘’’To expect our teachers, our schools, and our nation to strive to educate all of our children, leaving none behind, is a worthy goal,’ Tech Tonic says. ‘To insist that they must at the same time spend huge amounts of money and time trying to integrate unproven classroom technologies into their teaching, across the curriculum with preschoolers on up, is an unwise and costly diversion from that goal. It comes at the expense of our neediest children and schools, for whom the goal is most distant.’

‘’’It is within the context of relationships that children learn best,’ adds Dr. Marilyn Benoit, past president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and vice president of the Alliance Board of Trustees. ‘As we shift more towards the impersonal use of high technology as a major tool for teaching young children, we will lose that critical context of interactive relationship that so reinforces early learning.’’’

What’d I tell you?

We ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie on this, sports fans.

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