ERIC Number: ED392131
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Feb
Why Aren't Computers Used More in Schools? Faculty Research Working Paper Series, R96-03.
The personal computer is the latest educational technology to fall short of its original promise. Although United States public schools now possess 5.8 million computers, roughly one for every nine students, they are not widely used in classroom instruction. This paper argues that the most popular explanations for lack of computer use fix blame on recalcitrant bureaucracies and stubborn teachers. By enlisting technology in the cause of educational reform, computer advocates overlook some of the real obstacles to the use of computers in classrooms. These obstacles are rooted in organizational constraints of the school system and the essential nature of teachers' and students' work. The paper examines the world of teachers and students to uncover how their interactions limit the computer's impact on schooling and describes how these limitations are viewed by leading architects of public policy promoting educational technology, in particular a report published by the U.S. Congress's Office of Technology and Assessment in 1995. A conclusion is that computer advocates must separate their agenda from other reform agendas. The campaign to promote computer technology in the schools should stress three elements: (1) developing a strong technological infrastructure through investments in adequate school facilities; (2) using computers to make teachers' work easier and more efficient, not to redefine teaching; and (3) employing computers to increase student academic achievement, not for changing current ideas of valued knowledge. (Contains 54 references.) (LMI)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA. Kennedy School of Government.