ERIC Number: ED488931
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004
The Technology Fix: The Promise and Reality of Computers in Our Schools
Pflaum, William D.
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
During the technology boom of the 1980s and 1990s, computers seemed set to revolutionize education. Do any of these promises sound familiar? (1) Technology would help all students learn better, thanks to multimedia programs capable of adapting to individual needs, learning styles, and skill levels; (2) Technology would transform the teacher's role from a purveyor of a one-size-fits-all curriculum to a facilitator of student exploration; (3) Technology would replace textbooks with dynamic, interactive learning resources that were always up-to-date; and (4) Technology would boost test scores, as engaged and motivated students acquired advanced skills, problem-solving abilities, and a growing thirst for knowledge. By 2001, educational materials developer William D. Pflaum had begun to suspect that technology was not the all-purpose solution it had seemed. Deciding to see how computers were really being used in U.S. classrooms, he embarked on a yearlong road trip to a cross-section of schools throughout the nation. In this book, he recounts his journey. Although he did find technology application to admire, too often he found broken promises: millions spent for little measurable gain, problems instead of solutions, a fix instead of a fix. This inside look at computer use in our schools shares the voices, experiences, triumphs, and frustrations of educators and students in urban, rural, and suburban settings. The author provides insight into the key roles that computers play in the classroom and clarifies what must be done to ensure that the promise of technology is fulfilled... and that students truly benefit. This book is organized into five parts. Part I, Commitment and Focus, includes the following chapters: (1) St. Mary's Elementary School; (2) Harriet Tubman Elementary School; (3) Longworth High School; (4) Washington-Connors Elementary School; and (5) Mitchell Elementary School. Part II, Commitment, Less Focus, presents the next series of chapters: (6) St. John's High School; (7) Longfellow Elementary School; (8) Ludlow Springs School District; and (9) Western Hills School District. Part III, Hit-or-Miss Commitment, includes: (10) Springdale High School; (11) Harrison Elementary Schools; (12) Woodvale Middle School; (13) City Academy; (14) Emerson Elementary School; (15) Lambert Elementary School; and (16) Carter Elementary School. Part IV, Too Troubled to Focus, presents: (17) Alexanderville School District; (18) Porter Elementary School; (19) Fisher High School; and (20) Lincoln Elementary School. Part V, Conclusions and Next Steps, contains the final two chapters of the book: (21) Computer Use in the Classroom; and (22) So What Should We Do? An index and a section with information about the author are also included.
Descriptors: Teaching Methods, Elementary Secondary Education, Technology Integration, Case Studies, Instructional Effectiveness, Computer Uses in Education, School Districts, Educational Technology
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), 1703 North Beauregard Street, Alexandria, VA 22311. Tel: 800-933-2723 (Toll Free); e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publication Type: Books; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, VA.