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Substituting books for technology is also dubious, at best... ;-)
Plus, they need the support of a district's overwhelmed IT staff who are struggling to determine the best way to manage all these devices. iPads can't be effectively locked down, Google doesn't allow third party management of their cheap chromebooks, and they have old Wi-Fi networks that were designed for coverage, not device density.
As the parent of a college freshman and High School freshman, over the past dozen or so years I have seen the way that younger teachers easily integrate technology into their pedagogy during annual Meet the Teacher nights. Teachers that are my age use a SMARTboard as a simple substitute for a blackboard. The younger ones are more fluent in its use and integrate it much more effectively in learning.
I believe that ConnectED and the new eRate changes will allow schools to more effectively deploy technology based tools to better leverage these concepts. The devil will be in the details of course.
For more on flipped classrooms see this piece from EDUCAUSE
From my view of young folks Internet usage, I see:
I don't see anything that helps kids through school. Could they use the Internet to enhance their studies? Yes, they could and it sounds like a wonderful thing. Just like economic benefit of broadband, I just have not seen any studies that make it so.
Now here is the thing, the cost to do schools is basically trivial as a nation. The number of schools. I saw a site that there are about 100K public primary/secondary schools. That is about a the same as a city of about 500K. So, do I think this is a big issue? Not really and many schools already are connected.
Again, I want to know what the schools are going to do once the bandwidth is there? How are we going to redo education? I still don't think education is an actual problem? Can things be better? Of course. But we keep talking about our rank against other countries and have been doing so since I was a kid. And yet, I still see the US at the top of technology. See the long quote from Wikipedia below my sig....
"In 2013 Martin Carnoy of the Stanford University Graduate School of Education and Richard Rothstein of the Economic Policy Institute released a report, "What do international tests really show about U.S. student performance?", analyzing the 2009 PISA data base. Their report found that U.S. PISA test scores had been lowered by a sampling error that over-represented adolescents from the most disadvantaged American schools in the test-taking sample. The authors cautioned that international test scores are often "interpreted to show that American students perform poorly when compared to students internationally" and that school reformers then conclude that "U.S. public education is failing." Such inferences, made before the data has been carefully analyzed, they say, "are too glib" and "may lead policymakers to pursue inappropriate and even harmful reforms."
Carnoy and Rothstein observe that in all countries, students from disadvantaged backgrounds perform worse than those from advantaged backgrounds, and the US has a greater percentage of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The sampling error on the PISA results lowered U.S. scores for 15-year-olds even further, they say. The authors add, however, that in countries such as Finland, the scores of disadvantaged students tends to be stagnant, whereas in the U.S the scores of disadvantaged students have been steadily rising over time, albeit still lagging behind their those of their more advantaged peers. When the figures are adjusted for social class, the PISA scores of all US students would still remain behind those of the highest scoring countries, nevertheless, the scores of US students of all social backgrounds have shown a trajectory of improvement over time, notably in mathematics, a circumstance PISA's report fails to take into account.
Carnoy and Rothstein write that PISA spokesman Andreas Schleicher has been quoted saying that "international education benchmarks make disappointing reading for the U.S." and that "in the U.S. in particular, poverty was destiny. Low-income American students did (and still do) much worse than high-income ones on PISA. But poor kids in Finland and Canada do far better relative to their more privileged peers, despite their disadvantages" (Ripley 2011)." Carnoy and Rothstein state that their report's analysis shows Schleicher and Ripley's claims to be untrue. They further fault the way PISA's results have persistently been released to the press before experts have time to evaluate them; and they charge the OPEC reports with inconsistency in explaining such factors as the role of parental education. Carnoy and Rothstein also note with alarm that the US secretary of education Arne Duncan regularly consults with PISA's Andreas Schleicher in formulating educational policy before other experts have been given a chance to analyze the results. Carnoy and Rothstein's report (written before the release of the 2011 database) concludes:
I actually agree with you, more money does not always solve problems. It would be good for everybody to have access to the same information in relatively the same way and that is a good goal but one has to be reasonable and not expect a panacea.