Is It Time to Give Up on Computers in Schools?
[Listen and Learn : Panel]
Monday, June 29, 12:45–1:45 pm
Wayne D'OrioWill RichardsonGary StagerDavid ThornburgAudrey Watters
iPads purchased and promptly confiscated because kids used them? Computerized testing? Microcomputers have been in classrooms longer than most teachers have been alive, yet we still obsess over how to get teachers to use them. This provocative panel debates whether it’s just time to give up on educational computing.
Evaluate this session
||Participant devices not needed
||Administrators : Visionary Leadership
Teachers : Model Digital-Age Work and Learning
Teachers : Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership
Purpose & objective
Three decades after the first microcomputers entered classrooms it seems time to engage in a civil and serious discussion of where we are, where we've been and if a course correction is warranted. There are plenty of critics of educational computing taking potshots from the sidelines, but too little candid dialogue from within the community. A lot of time and treasure has been invested in educational technology. Was it worthwhile? Have we lost our way? Have the computer-using educators who were once revolutionaries paving a bright new future of student empowerment and powerful ideas become gatekeepers and compliance officers. Is what children do with computers trivial? How should computers be used in schools? Are test scores flat despite billions spent on computers? Is that the right question to ask? Why does student engagement seem to fall each year? Why do we make so many compromises? Fourty-five years ago, Seymour Papert famously asked, "Does the computer program the child or does the child program the computer?" Has our current practice tilted in the less desirable direction? This panel discussion of edutech luminaries, along with extensive audience participation, is sure to provoke, question, inspire and entertain.
Edtech thought leaders will explore some of the following issues: Why should computers be used in schools? Has the computer been used to shift agency away from the learner towards the system? What are the competing visions for educational computing and which one is winning? Why does a school district plan to spend $1 billion dollars on iPads without a clearly articulated educational vision and then confiscate them as soon as kids use the technology as it was intended to be used? Why are fewer students taught computer science today than 30+ years ago? Do schools really still have computer labs? Is the media with its endless tales of cyberbullying and hacking our friend or foe? What might be done to improve the public image of computers in education? Is BYOD just a way of cost-shifting testing to children? Are we empowering the forces who wish to replace teachers with YouTube videos or computer-assisted instruction? Why do fantasies like teaching machines (personalized learning, learning systems) persist? Where is the wisdom in the edtech community? Will computerized testing and the CCSS improve education or rob children of valuable experiences and resources? Which other educational movements are most resonant with computers in education? There were 150,000 people at 2012 San Mateo Maker Faire learning, creating and problem solving with technology and two maker sessions on the 2012 ISTE Conference program. Has the edtech community missed the significance of the maker movement? What ARE 21st Century skills? Is it time to significantly raise expectations for educators to use computers in more powerful and empowering ways? If so, how to we realize those new expectations? What are we waiting for?
Current media reports on school computer use or misuse, NAEP scores, criticism of edtech Seminal visions offering the promise of educational computing going back to the 1960s Books and research published by the panelists.
Gary Stager, 30th ISTE/NECC as a Presenter
Gary Stager is one of the world’s leading experts and advocates for computer programming, robotics and learning-by-doing in classrooms. In 1990, Dr. Stager led professional development in the world’s first laptop schools and played a major role in the early days of online education. In addition to being a popular keynote speaker at some of the world’s most prestigious education conferences, Gary mentors schools, governments, and educators across the globe. Gary is the founder of Constructing Modern Knowledge and coauthor of the best-selling book, Invent To Learn – Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom.
David Thornburg, Polar3D
Dr. Thornburg has been active in the field of educational technology since the late 1970's. He speaks to many thousands of educators each year at numerous conferences throughout the world. David's current interest focuses on the emerging role of 3D printing in the classroom, the subject of his most recent book.