Technology Is Not The Panacea For Education is the title of a column that appeared today in The San Francisco Chronicle. It’s by Todd Oppenheimer, the author of a book that I really like called The Flickering Mind: Saving Education From The False Promise of Technology. The column is critical of President Obama’s plan to spend monies to expand technology in schools.
As readers of this blog know, I, too, don’t believe that technology really has the power to transform education, and have written a lot about my concern in my In Practice posts.
I believe that technology does have its place (especially with English Language Learners), but also has to be kept in its place (to paraphrase an economist who was talking about the role of the “free market).
Unfortunately, though, I think Oppenheimer’s column goes a bit “over-the-top” in throwing out “the baby with the bathwater.” His blanket condemnations seem to carry the same lack of openness to other viewpoints that I hear in the words of some edtech “true believers.”
Of the $142 billion earmarked for education in the proposed stimulus package, just one billion is for the expansion of technology in schools. Half of that amount is specifically for Title 1 schools (the other half will used competitive grants), and 25% of monies received from school districts would have to be used for professional development. (You can learn more specifics here).
I think one billion out of $142 billion is quite a reasonable balance.
I don’t believe I have the numbers wrong, but let me know if I do.