Earlier this month, Doug Johnson wrote an intriguing post titled A Better Question. It’s definitely worth reading.
In it, he shares an observation from a Dell Computers staffperson, who said that instead of asking “Does technology improve student learning?” we should be asking, “Does technology support the practices that improve student learning?”
Doug then makes an astute observation of his own:
The direct link between information technologies and learning does not exist anymore than the direct link between a good stove and a good meal; a good automobile and a good vacation; a good word processor and a good book; or a good camera and good art.
All this relates to my own ambivalent feelings about the impact of technology on student achievement for mainstream students (there’s no question, I believe, about its benefit to English Language Learners — if used appropriately). I’ve written about this several times, including in Does Using Technology Add Value To The Classroom?. I get a sense that some people mistakenly view technology as a sort of “magic bullet” in education.