Thursday, 6 May 2010

Impression: Are ICT Investments in Schools Wasted?

The debate left Yama Ploskonka duly confused - an appropriate state of mind for anyone considering honest investment in ICT for education... since FOR was “against” investment, seeing it as a waste, and vice versa, sometimes adding multiple negatives…

Live Debate Impression New Dehli, 21 April, 2010
Allen brings the negative together as follows:

What struck me about the affirmative was the lack of any reference to history. It's not as if computers in education are a new idea although the advent of the Internet seems to have resulted in a case of amnesia regarding that historical fact. The first computer system explicitly designed for use in education was the Plato system designed by the University of Illinois in...wait for it...1960.

Since then there have been an endless parade of projects to use computers in education and to be blunt, they've all failed. Some have failed spectacularly, others have simply not lived up to the promises made and implied at their start and in a few cases the measure of success has been sufficiently vague as to defy attempts to apply the success or failure label. But in terms of demonstrating lower costs or greater educational attainment I don't believe there's any reason to equivocate. Failure from start to finish.

It would seem to me that this historical reality would be a well-nigh insurmountable obstacle to those advancing projects which propose to improve education via the use of computers and yet it does not seem to be so. Despite a uniform, and very expensive, history of failure new projects are continuously launched as if each is the first to attempt to improve education via the use of computers. Were I on the affirmative I would simply have reprised that history and challenged the opposition to offer some reason to believe that the new projects, indistinguishable except in detail from any that preceded, will succeed where all its predecessors have failed.

You post a false choice Yama
The false dilemma results from assuming that there's no down side to funding the use of computers in education so might as well. It's a choice between funding the use of computers and *not* building some bridge or road or some other project.

Exactly! This blog presents arguments and reports experiences and research to point out the danger of e-learning in poorly prepared settings. Computer technology has to be introduced, which goes without saying, but only through use of tested procedures, proven to work. Like this, money can be saved to build roads to the future, removing critical barriers at the start. 

To close the digital divide systematically, see:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

very good