Face it. K-12 schools in the US, on average, have not done a spectacular job of educating the masses in the last couple of decades. Despite massive spending on technology and technical infrastructure, SAT scores have generally not improved and drop-outs are still a major problem. Why??? If what we have done for the last 20 years has not improved things, why do we continue to operate schools in the same failed way? Let me be clear that there ARE great schools and great teachers out there – but there are way to many of both that are mediocre and DAMAGING THE FUTURE of too many children.
So what is the REAL paradigm shift? The education “establishment” has pretty much thrown up it’s collective hands when it comes to real reform. Thankfully, we are at the intersection of the explosive growth of sophisticated mobile devices (phones, tablets, etc) and students and parents demanding access to mobile devices in the classroom. While the evidence is still mostly anecdotal, classrooms with devices in the hands of each child, with a teacher who “gets” how to motivate and coach kids, result in increased participation and achievement. Plus, if a kid happens to be in a bad school or have a bad teacher, they can use their device to go to school (or take a course, or get help) online!
It’s time for school systems to quit buying expensive, ineffective PC’s and supporting infrastructure and shift focus to making sure each student has access to a mobile device (either their own or one provided by the school system.) I happen to be a big fan of tablet devices in the hands of students. The time is right – let’s do it now to give each child a shot at their best possible future!