Sunday, 6 January 2013

Education Technology--"Oversold and Underused"

A decade ago I wrote a review of Larry Cuban's book critical of the claims about bringing computers into classrooms.  Interestingly, it was the most viewed review over a period of several years on the Education Review web site. 
The Education Review is a wonderful site for giving open access to reviews of most of the books published on education--well worth subscribing to. 
Certainly, people came the review because of interest in Cuban's ideas, not because I wrote the review. He is undoubtedly  the most significant education historian who is critical of technology in education. 
I started the review by describing the ambitions of the presidents of Mexico and Cuba about how computer technology would transform teaching practice.  Looking back over the decade since the review was published, I have to say that Cuban's point in the title of his book still resonates, not just in the Cuba, Mexico and the U.S., but here in Canada as well. 
Cuban, Larry. (2001). Oversold and Underused: Computers in the Classroom. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

256 pages
$27.95 (cloth) ISBN 067400602

Reviewed by Larry Kuehn
University of British Columbia

June 6, 2002

When he was running for office in 2000, Vicente Fox—the current president of Mexico from the right-wing party PAN—included in his education platform the placing of computers in every school. In outlining new directions for education in Cuba in the new century, Fidel Castro said he wants—that's right—computers in every school. Will computers in every school transform teaching practice in Mexico or Cuba? Not likely, if the experience in already computer-rich Silicon Valley is any indicator. To find out if computers are changing education practice, Stanford historian of technology in education, Larry Cuban, took a look at the impact of computers in the community where extensive integration seems most likely. He looked into the preschools, Kindergartens and secondary schools where the people who develop the new technologies send their children. He also looked at Stanford University, an institution that feeds the developers of the high tech industries of the Silicon Valley region of California.
Read the full review here:

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