Would this article make you want to learn in a 1:1 school?

Alan Schwarz’s New York Times article, Out With Textbooks, in With Laptops for an Indiana School District highlights the the new 1:1 laptop initiative in Munster, IN.

I’m a bit shocked by the focus of the article and the way that the program is portrayed. Take a look at a few of the quotes from the article and you tell me what you tell me what you think.

This is the quote from Ms. Stafford that ends the article. “This wasn’t a technology initiative — this was a curriculum initiative,”

OK, but look at these other ones.

  • “The day all have seen coming — traditional textbooks being replaced by interactive computer programs…”
  • “The material we’re teaching is old but everything around it is brand-new,” said Pat Premetz, chairwoman of the math department at Wilbur Wright Middle School
  • “Uncuffed, Angela Bartolomeo’s sixth graders spent a recent Wednesday rearranging terms of equations on an interactive Smart Board and dragging-and-dropping answers in ways that chalkboards never could. (In between, a cartoon character exclaimed that “Multiplying by 1 does not change the value of a number!” in his best superhero baritone.)”
  • “When Ms. Norman told the students to take out their ear buds to watch a video, two in the back yelped, “Cool!””
  • “With a textbook, you can only read what’s on the pages — here you can click on things and watch videos,” said Patrick Wu, a seventh grader. “It’s more fun to use a keyboard than a pencil.

Are these the main reasons that we advocate for providing students and teachers with access to technology? Are these examples of higher level learning in a 21st century classroom? I applaud the efforts of the school district and teachers. I just think that this article fails to capture the real reason why the district decided to go 1:1.

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