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Why Are School Technology Programs Almost Always an Expensive Failure?

 
 
Reply Sat 18 Apr, 2015 03:18 am
The latest is the LA School program of trying to provide every student with an i-pad, the theory being that it would bring equal learning results among the classes and would make everyone smarter. It was a $1.3 billion dollar program that was paused one year after the devices started to be used, and has now been cancelled. I mean they barely even got started trying the program but it was such a disaster they thought they had to end it.

Isnt this how it always goes? When my kids were in school the big push was to get a TV in every classroom. I am pretty sure I remember Bill Clinton giving a speech that they were going to revolutionize education, that our kids were now sure to be brilliant. Then about 8 years later I begin to hear about school renovation funds being need to amongst other things tear our all of the tv that are never used and look terrible.

What about all of those computer labs that were put in but always had ancient equipment that was lightly used, and now are useless relics of another era of the digital age?

If business can do technology, and government can sometimes (lets not talk about how the IRS has been trying for 12 years to get a new computer system, or about that air traffic control system that is never ready to go...please), why cant schools?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 1,038 • Replies: 7
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gungasnake
 
  0  
Reply Sat 18 Apr, 2015 03:27 am
@hawkeye10,
Kids pretty much have to become computer literate, meaning that any kid who hopes to do or become anything in America at this juncture has to have access to computers. Friends were having me set up PCs for their high-school kids by the mid 80s and the question even then was how in hell could anybody even handle the job of English teacher at that early point; the difference between WordPerfect 4 on a PC and the best typewriter was so great that an assignment which might represent 30 - 50 hours of work for a kid with pencil/paper or a typewriter was going to represent an hour and a half worth of work for the kid with the computer.

Why a kid might need any sort of a smart phone is much less obvious.
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PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Apr, 2015 06:21 am
Equipment goes out of date in 6 months.

Teachers are not trained enough on high tech equipment to use it in the classroom. The curriculum does not include these applications.

These pieces of equipment have nothing to do with the mandatory tests the government insists upon.

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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Apr, 2015 09:07 am
@hawkeye10,
I don't remember Clinton saying anything about televisions but he did sign the Telecommunications Act which was supposed to get every school connected to the internet.

Connectivity (especially wireless connectivity) has been a big reason that the whole ipad thing failed.

Money was another. Software isn't free.

Breakage was yet another problem. Trusting little kids with expensive equipment is not always a great idea.

Censorship too. They had to block so many words and phrases that it became almost impossible to search for anything (or so I'm told).

Really they just jumped the gun and started buying ipads without having any idea of how they were going to use them to teach. If they'd just handed them over for a portion of the day and let kids explore whatever they wanted to explore it probably would have worked much better (if they could have fixed all the other problems).
raprap
 
  2  
Reply Sat 18 Apr, 2015 09:32 am
Problems
Technology is progressing so fast that the education bureaucracy cannot keep up.
Computers belong in the homes not the classroom.
Established powers fear that knowledge encourages curiosity --they're more interested in training than education.

Rap
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hawkeye10
 
  0  
Reply Sat 18 Apr, 2015 12:11 pm
@boomerang,
I am trying to use the Ipad failure as a jumping off point. The LA TIMES reports that the major problem was poor management from the start was the major problem.

http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-ipad-report-20150113-story.html

What I have seen is the "shiny new thing" syndrome, where the school people want it and they love to tell the parents that they are getting the best for their kids and that their schools are cutting edge, but they never seem to have a good plan for how they are going to use their shiny new thing. They get it, then it soon falls into disuse either because the teachers dont like it or because they never had a good reason to get it in the first place.

Or they go the other way. 10-15 years ago there was a big push to keep parents better informed...there were horror stories of parents getting report cards with F's on them often because the kids were often skipping class and parents were pissed that there kid could miss 30 classes in a quarter and they never hear word one. One of the solutions was robocalls if the kid missed even one class. But now that they had this nifty way to contact parents that took them almost no time they started to use the robocalls to call us about every God Damn thing under the sun. In my district we could not even get disconnected from the system upon request. THe day that my last kid left the public school system was a happy one in large part because the call would end. I thought. A year later I got want asking me to support a bond program.
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hawkeye10
 
  0  
Reply Sat 18 Apr, 2015 12:46 pm
@boomerang,
Quote:
I don't remember Clinton saying anything about televisions but he did sign the Telecommunications Act which was supposed to get every school connected to the internet.


I remember it as the government paying to rip up schools to lay wire all through out, which tends to get complicated and expensive, in order to run the TV's in every room and to do whatever else we might decide to do later. But the teachers never seemed to like the TV in the corner of the ceiling that had to use as content something they could get from their schools provider, they stuck with the TV on the cart connected to some player technology, VCR for a long time. Then WIFI eliminated the need for the wires that we had paid to put in.
hawkeye10
 
  0  
Reply Sat 18 Apr, 2015 01:04 pm
@hawkeye10,
The Brookings Institutes attempt to tell us about tech success stories leaves me underwhelmed.

http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2013/3/20-education-technology-success-west-bleiberg/download-the-paper.pdf
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