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Digital Technologies in schools > Skeptic, Believer or …..

Posted by jturner56 on August 17, 2012

Response to Larry Cuban’s blog post (

FAQs for a Skeptic on Technology


As someone who has followed your contribution since I started teaching in the mid-80s I appreciate once again the succinctness of your communication. I must confess to being a ‘believer’ ever since as a mid-80s Mathematics teacher I observed profound differences in engagement and learning not only in my learning, and student learning when digital technologies are used in constructive ways.

I have spent my career seeking to understand and utilize such power. This has included engaging with ‘Luddites’ (who weren’t against technology per se, but rather how it affected their lives), and being willing to risk (which is part of the curriculum requirement that I work within). What has always concerned me is skeptical views that attack short comings in an imperfect world, without appreciation of complexity, diversity or realism. In this I am just as concerned with school  school system administrators, and technology advocates (be they commercial or bureaucratic) for the same reasons. We can get a bit tied up with bureaucratic shortcomings and miss the opportunities and challenges that technological change provides.

Schooling and education are debatable ever since at least the times of Socrates. A good future lies not in blame, but in contribution. I agree maybe we are not as advanced over the past quarter decade as some would have hoped or contended, but change is much more part of the school dynamic and it is up to educators to make sense and add social value in what is a complex milieu. Harkening back as justification of learning value limits the 360 degree view needed.

Perhaps like climate change the game is changing while we as frogs boil. I see the fundamental difference between the skeptical view and the believer view of computers in education as akin to a late 19thC view that an engine would ever be able to make a car fly. Many were working to show this was a limited, often unsuccessful, view. I see the role of educators as supporting such opportunity creation.

Once again, appreciate the chance to think about areas of common interest.


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