Friday, July 16, 2010

More On Computers At Home vs. Achievement At School

Surprised? Anyone?

The research showed that low-income students who received home computers didn't use them to enhance their schooling, but rather, used them to play games. (Act surprised). Their scores in three academic subjects actually declined, but at least their proficiency in computers was measurably higher, so I guess the experiment wasn't a total loss if what you're looking for is a generation of low-income computer gamers.

The unvarnished truth is that the digital divide isn't what's holding back America's underprivileged children. The real problem is a discipline divide. Regardless of socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity or religion, where there are strong, skilled, supervising parents, you will find successful students. And where there aren't, you'll find gamers.
OK, so the research is from Romania--but tell me your gut doesn't tell you it applies here, too.

But OK, "without data, all you have is an opinion." I accept and believe that. I also believe this statement:

It's time to stop throwing money, technology and excuses at poor children and calling it education. The only way to close any sort of gap is to stop selling kids short on competent teachers who are committed to imparting knowledge and skills rather than using the classroom to affect "social justice," and to hold their parents accountable for the privilege of a free public education.

1 comment:

Ellen K said...

Another Real World vs. Theory example.
In my kids' district a middle school got a grant to provide every single student with a laptop. Nothing fancy, just a basic that could do word processing and access the internet. The parents paid a small insurance fee. Two years later, most of the laptops were unusuable. Some were damaged, some were stolen and later retrieved at pawn shops, some were so full of illicit material and viruses that allowing them on the school network would have caused major problems. Remember, these are often the same kids that when issued textbooks also lose, abuse or destroy them. While one kid in ten may benefit, it strikes me as just another feelgood instance for politicians and corporations that throw money at problems without solving them.