Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Not to 'drill' it in to you, but...

Great post on the Generation Yes blog.

A year ago I wrote about Part 1 of a study on “educational” software - Headlines that won’t help. The preliminary results of the study found that various software test prep packages had little impact on student test scores. Now the second half of the study is out. Guess what. The software still doesn’t work.

All of these software packages promise to improve student scores in reading and math. But as endless research has proven, drilling kids for tests doesn’t result in significant test score improvement, and has negative long-term results in what students actually retain. It doesn’t matter if we drill more efficiently with expensive software. Doing things that don’t work DOESN’T WORK. How much simpler can this be? As I said last year, the headlines SHOULD read, “Bad Educational Practice Proved Ineffective, Again!”

All of the studied software test prep programs are far removed from creative software applications that allow students to use modern technology to express themselves in innovative, personal ways.

My emphasis there.

You know, there are some people in this world who think that if it happens on a computer, it must be 'technology'.

That's kinda like saying, "If it's put together with a hammer, it's architecture!"

Unaware-Computer-Courseware-Drill-Stuff-Users, please read: By and large, courseware stinks. At best it's usually the computer screen version of a textbook. When you hear folks talking about Web 2.0 and creative apps and social networking... they aren't talking about courseware.

Let me give you an analogy to explain what courseware is like. It's sort of like if you were prepping the grill to barbecue and asked for help lighting the coals. On the table next to the grill are the instructions on how to use the grill right next to a book of matches and a container of lighter fluid. And I give you the instruction book.

So, to get up-to-speed on what's going on in educational technology, I strongly suggest you give the oversized boxes your courseware came in to the kids in the art deparment -- they probably could use the extra materials. Then get yourself into the Web 2.0 discussion. Don't hesitate, the future awaits!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the link - you've stated the difference quite clearly. Hope to read more from you!


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