“Over the past several years, the education debate in America has increasingly become a conversation about technology. As we’ve seen the benefit of having tablets and smartphones in our lives, we’ve started to pin to it our hopes for our nation’s education system, as well. Recently this talk has reached something close to a fever pitch. In January, Apple announced that it would be working with major education companies (including McGraw-Hill) to develop academic titles specifically for the iPad, inspiring a wave of blog posts and tweets hopeful for education’s rescue. The FCC took things one step further in March, convening a meeting in Washington with several key players with the goal of driving adoptions of digital textbooks in K-12 schools across the country.
However, as with any movement, critics have emerged. Some question technology’s real ability to improve student learning outcomes — things like pass rates, graduation rates and overall academic performance — suggesting that what we’re really doing by bringing technology into the classroom is entertaining students who are otherwise prone to boredom and apathy. Others worry about the cost of all this technology, especially during times of constrained budgets.
As we push forward with the digital transformation of education, it’s worth taking a look at just how greatly technology can impact teaching and learning in this country — and what’s at stake, not just for our students but our society as a whole.”
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