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The Great Fire Wall of China

As my regular readers know, I am writing from China these days, and have been doing so four years so far. Sometimes the blog becomes inaccessible to me, making it impossible to post regularly. In fact, starting in late September 2014, China began interfering with many Google-owned entities of which Blogspot is one. If the blog seems to go dark for a while, please know I will be back as soon as I can get in again. I am sometimes blocked for many weeks at a time. I hope to have a new post up soon if I can gain access. Thank you for your understanding and loyalty.

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

This is What's Wrong with Tech Articles

GreatSchools has an article about evaluating the effectiveness of technology in your child's school. Just like most such articles, it does not even question the assumption that technology should be used. The unexamined assumption is of course technology should be used. It is only a matter of whether it is being effectively used.

The assumption ignores two considerations. One, technology has always been used in schools. There are people still alive who remember the old mimeograph machines that produced odorous purple worksheets.

Language labs once used huge reel-to-reel tape players.

There are people who remember helping their teacher carefully thread the filmstrip projector.

Eventually, the the projector gave way to VHS tapes which finally gave way to You-tube videos projected from flash drives.

The point is there is no stopping technology. Which brings us to the second consideration. Back in those days, there were no articles discussing whether technology was effective or not. Technology was a tool, but not a panecea. We had not yet mentally endowed technology with mythological superpowers. Technology was not "a thing." Today, technology is a bandwagon to jump on merely for technology's sake. Tech for tech's sake is expensive and unnecessary.

"Research shows these (smart) boards can increase both student interest and participation," (but this does not necessarily translate to increased understanding or achievement, especially if it doesn't) "change the dynamic of the classroom...Because it’s the teaching practices associated with technology use that matter most.”