Opinion
Classroom Technology Letter to the Editor

The Dangers of Technologizing School

September 29, 2020 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

The article, “COVID-19 Fuels Big Enrollment Increases in Virtual Schools” (Sept. 3, 2020) raises red flags about virtual schools, but the larger trend of technologizing education is of equal concern.

The California Alliance of Researchers for Equity in Education has released a brief about the shift to online learning during the pandemic, and the research is clear—technologies for online learning can amplify inequities. Six large-scale studies show that fully online schools are far less effective than in-person schools. Even when students are attending schools in person, their learning is negatively impacted when spending significant time on computer-based technologies, as shown in large-scale studies of schools in the United States and abroad.

All of this is exacerbated by existing inequities. In spring 2020, students in poverty, of color, with disabilities, and/or who were English-language learners were far less likely than other students to regularly access online platforms. Other problems associated with extended screen time are increased risks related to physical and mental health, online bullying and sexual exploitation, and data and personal-privacy intrusion. Schools still have not received adequate resources and support to address such problems.

The California Alliance of Researchers for Equity in Education brief further shows that the shift to remote learning and the availability of federal stimulus funding provided the perfect storm for profiteering by technology corporations and providers. A recent analysis of the marketing claims about the effectiveness of various technology products showed a woeful lack of research basis for such claims. Yet companies grew their profits during the spring, and industry leaders saw their wealth soar.

Schools must do better with online education when it is still unsafe to reopen.

Such improvement starts with more research-based, democratic policies and funding priorities at the state and federal level.

Kevin Kumashiro

Former Dean

School of Education

University of San Francisco

Emeryville, Calif.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the September 30, 2020 edition of Education Week as The Dangers of Technologizing School

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
IT Infrastructure Webinar
A New Era In Connected Learning: Security, Accessibility and Affordability for a Future-Ready Classroom
Learn about Windows 11 SE and Surface Laptop SE. Enable students to unlock learning and develop new skills.
Content provided by Microsoft Surface
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum Making Technology Work Better in Schools
Join experts for a look at the steps schools are taking (or should take) to improve the use of technology in schools.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Budget & Finance Webinar
The ABCs of ESSER: How to Make the Most of Relief Funds Before They Expire
Join a diverse group of K-12 experts to learn how to leverage federal funds before they expire and improve student learning environments.
Content provided by Johnson Controls

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Classroom Technology Opinion 4 Strategies to Help Students Manage Cellphone Use in School
Rules only get you so far; they don't teach young people how to manage challenges.
Tom Harrison
3 min read
Images shows a stylized artistic landscape with soothing colors.
Getty
Classroom Technology 5 Ways to Use Technology to Improve Teaching and Learning
Here's an outline of the priorities schools need to address, with links to helpful resources.
2 min read
Arial illustration of a diverse group of kids sitting in a circle with their teacher and surrounded by laptops and zoom windows all around them.
Daniel Hertzberg for Education Week
Classroom Technology Letter to the Editor Personal Cellphones Are Not Instructional Tools
An educator makes the argument that personal devices have no place in instruction in this letter to the editor.
1 min read
Illustration of an open laptop receiving an email.
iStock/Getty
Classroom Technology Spotlight Spotlight on Online Blended Learning
This Spotlight will help you clarify ways to relieve technology fatigue, obtain need-to-know info on the future of blended learning, plus more.