The two educators are talking not about school-age students using software in the classroom, but older individuals using educational software in an online course. Their short article does not indicate what they think about the federal review of some of Carnegie Learning’s software and its ineffectiveness as far as student achievement: Again, there’s a tendency to equate using computer technology with innovation and improved educational outcomes.
A $2.2 Billion Business
Classroom-based software is a $2.2 billion a year business though the jury is still out about how, and if, it really makes a difference in student learning. There’s no question that computers and online courses will be part of the educational future for many students. But the less than stellar results (as measured in students’ standardized test scores) of Carnegie Learning’s software should remind us that “educational innovations” do not go hand-in-hand with students learning.
My own college classroom is outfitted with a computer with internet access and an LED projector. I often show students maps of the ancient Mediterranean world, photos of Greek and Roman art and the ruins of buildings and much more that is readily available on the web; gone are the days of dragging in slides and a slide projector. But students look at webpages all the time and computers (or at least the one in my classroom) can freeze and crash. The best teaching innovation of this school year for me so far has been two 99 cent boxes of colored chalk I got at Target (the college of course provides white chalk but not chalk in rainbow hues). Writing and circling and underlining ancient Greek and Latin words in different colors can catch student’s attention more effectively than showing the yet another webpage on a screen.
Some research about “traditional” teaching technologies versus the latest new software products might be revealing.
Photo of the plural declension (in masculine, feminine, neuter genders) of the definite article in ancient Greek by the author
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Photo by shersh
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