New study finds that technology doesn’t necessarily help education

Many online and blended learning advocates talk about how education technology isn’t a silver bullet that automatically improves education. In fact, sometimes it seems like that point is such a commonly repeated part of our rhetorical playlist that most people must be tired of hearing it. Apparently that’s not the case, however, as the Center for American Progress published a study coming to this same conclusion, and the New York Times deemed it worthy of referencing in an article. Key points from the study include:

“Far too often, school leaders fail to consider how technology might dramatically improve teaching and learning, and schools frequently acquire digital devices without discrete learning goals and ultimately use these devices in ways that fail to adequately serve students, schools, or taxpayers.”

The study doesn’t discount the potential of education technology, and mentions online schools as “offering students more course and curriculum options than conventional schools.” However, “it is clear that we are not approaching technology with an eye toward improving educational delivery. In too many schools computers appear to be an add-on rather than a true lever for change.”

The report concludes “we have not done enough to consider new models of educational delivery nor have we thought enough about ways to create a performance-based culture. This needs to change. Technology can kickstart the process of leveraging new reforms and learning strategies, and we hope that this report serves as a much-needed wake-up call.”

These ideas are not new to online and blended learning practitioners and advocates, but we are always glad to hear these themes being raised by people and organizations who are speaking from different backgrounds, and to varied audiences.