Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Digital Success Story?

Last night, on Channel 13, the usually admirable Frontline aired a documentary that lauded IS 339 in the Bronx as a school that rose from chaos to excellence by embracing laptops and digital media. The only problem is that the school's recent history doesn't bear out this rosy story.

Contrary to the story told in "Digital_Nation," the school is still very shaky. As reported on the website Inside Schools, founded by my wife,
the segment spotlighted the school's embrace of technology, including the extensive use of SmartBoards by teachers and laptop computers by students. It also reported the school's math scores for 2009, a year in which 62% of students scored at or above grade level in math. In 2010, after the tests were made more difficult to pass, only 19% of the middle school students scored at or above grade level.

Digital technology can be a great aid to learning, but it is no panacea. It needs to be used carefully, deliberately and with serious regards for its strengths and limits. By itself, it can't be credited with turning around a school in the Bronx. Frontline should know better,

1 comment:

Ronald Helfrich Jnr. said...

It was a repeat and certainly could have used a postscript.

Personally I have found that the new digital technologies have been highly overrated as educational tools in the "modern" classroom.