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Kids Belong in School or the School of their Choice

rhs 2020

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, seems politicians learned NOTHING from the first rounds of Covid. So now, with the holiday break over, and time to get kids back in the classroom, and after taxpayers shelled out about $190 billion in ransom payments to the teachers unions to get them to, you know, teach, 2,200 schools are closed today.  And guess what: they are almost all in blue states and blue cities.

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Ridgewood Schools : Is too much technology good for the classroom?


Is too much technology good for the classroom?

OCTOBER 23, 2015    LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2015, 12:31 AM

Is technology helping or hurting in the classroom?

To the Editor:

As a district, we have enthusiastically embraced technology in our schools. And it is certainly understandable why. With technology came the promise of improved educational outcomes for our children, and a greater chance for success competing in the 21st century global economy.

But parents are beginning to question the validity of this promise: Are children really learning more? Is their reading comprehension improving? What about their math ability?

Now, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has published a 200-page study, concluding that investing heavily in classroom technology does not improve student performance, and, in fact, frequent use of computers is more likely to be associated with lower results. For math, the study found that almost any time spent on the computer leads to poorer performance.

Internationally, the best-performing education systems, such as those in East Asia, have been very cautious about using technology in the classroom. Countries with the highest level of Internet use in schools either experienced significant declines in reading performance or stagnated.

Because of my earlier career developing software for IBM, I am acutely aware of the limitations of technology and certainly not bedazzled by it. Now I tutor math for the SAT, so I get to hear unfiltered reports of students’ experiences with technology.

Some teachers, apparently, require students take notes on their Chromebooks, even though some prefer to take notes by hand, because they believe they learn better that way. Research supports these students’ preferences; taking notes by hand results in deeper learning.

Chromebooks in the classroom frequently cause distractions because some students play games during class.

Textbooks are increasingly online, even though many students would prefer to have good paper textbooks, because they are easier to read.

There also appears to be a tendency on the part of some teachers to delegate to the computer the task of teaching, so there’s less interaction between student and teacher. Students do best in close human-to-human contact. The research supports this.

It’s interesting: the students who complain most about technology in the schools are strong students, those most interested in learning.

I think we might want to consider why the executives and employees of the top Silicon Valley firms send their kids to schools that have no technology in the early grades, absolutely none, and when it is introduced in eighth grade, it is used sparingly. It should give us pause to hear that the innovators developing these products refuse to expose their own children’s minds to them. Their thinking is that technology interferes with creativity, and young minds learn best through movement, hands-on tasks and human-to-human interaction.

The OECD report now gives us solid data linking frequent computer use in school to declining academic performance. In September, we learned that – nationally – students in the high school class of 2015 turned in the lowest critical reading score on the SAT in more than 40 years. The average score on the math portion of the SAT was the lowest since 1999.

Marlene Burton