Educators who are insisting that the moment is ripe for technology to transform the educational model may have been heartened this week to read that folks at the Consumer Electronics Association are saying, essentially, the same thing.
The CEA names technology in education among the 2013 “Five Technology Trends to Watch,” an annual report issued by the Arlington, Va.-based association on Monday, citing as evidence increasing public and parent support for technology-enhanced education, as well as the movement towards electronic content that is increasingly personalized, portable, and interactive.
For example, research from the CEA showed that three-quarters of U.S. parents of students in grades K-12 “agree” or “strongly agree” that technology greatly improves students’ learning experiences, and that two-thirds “agree” or “strongly agree” that they personally have seen their children benefit from educational technology implementation.
Further, more than half of respondents from the general public “agree” or “strongly agree” that K-12 students should be provided a computer for their education, the research showed.
However, the CEA includes a perhaps inadvertent cautionary tale in its analysis, noting how as early as the 1920s, inventor Thomas Edison said, “Books will soon be obsolete in schools. Scholars will soon be instructed through the eye.” The report goes on to note how television integrated itself into education with broadcast programming and later educational videos, followed by computers and eventually the Internet.
While those technologies indeed have all found educational uses, they haven’t necessarily transformed the basic model of teaching. From the layout of the classroom to the schedule of the school day, to the role of the teacher, there are more similarities than differences between the schools of 1920 and the schools of today.
And if new technologies are integrated in the same manner, it’s likely many ed-tech advocates would likely say that what was good for business wasn’t necessarily good for education.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.