Thursday, December 31, 2015

hype cycle...

The Clear Spring School where I teach wood shop got its first technology grant in the early 1990's from Apple. According to hype, computers were, after all, going to upset a few things, and schools that did not jump on the bandwagon would be setting their children back by decades if not worse.

The chart above is of the Gartner hype cycle, and is remarkably similar to the Dunning-Kruger effect in its shape.  It has been noted that the peak of inflated expectations (and its more grueling aftermath) exactly corresponds with the shape of the mount of stupidity.

The problem with human beings seems to be that we rush ill-considered into whatever is new in order to lay claim generationally to a sense of agency in the world. For instance, the new maker movement  largely ignores the rich history of shop classes that built our nation and helped millions of students to find a meaningful place in school and in life, and as a consequence ignores also the rich pedagogy of hands-on learning that would have been available to them from Educational Sloyd.

In the meantime, the OECD, the organization that monitors school performance world-wide, and that has called attention to the high cost and poor performance of American Schools has found that just as would be predicted by the Gartner Hype Cycle, technology and its application in schooling has failed to deliver on the expectations surrounding it. The OECD notes:
frequent use of computers in schools is more likely to be associated with lower results.
In other words, over the last twenty-plus years of computers growing their way into schools, the hype has grown but the performance has not. My thanks again to David for sending the link: Computers 'do not improve' pupil results, says OECD.

It should be noted that rushing to technological solutions  in education may be expensive  and will likely fail to deliver expected results. One of the interesting things that should be noted about digital technology is that its intended to make things easier and easier, when children really need to do real, difficult and challenging things that build both character and intellect at the same time.

In my wood shop, I am in the process of finishing boxes

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