December 9, 2011

“Actually the educational software industry does know best about something, but about something other than the best ways to learn mathematics. It has excellent knowledge about what can be most easily sold to parents. Software that drills the kids in using numbers is easily recognized by the most uninformed parent as “math.”

That kind of software also happens to be easiest and least costly to produce. So it fits the surest formula for making money in the software title business: Design products that are inexpensively produced and easily marketed because they resonate with the lowest common denominator of mass-scale parental beliefs about education. This is one of many ways in which the intellectual lives of children and the educational policies of the nation (indeed the world) are increasingly being determined by business considerations. The most troubling side of the affair is that ill-founded parental beliefs are not only exploited but are reinforced in the process, a process that feeds dangerous downward spirals in educational policy.”

Papert, S. (1996) The Connected Family: Bridging the Digital Generation Gap. Atlanta: Longstreet Press. page 18.

3 thoughts on “December 9, 2011”

  1. Maureen Greenbaum

    That was 1996. This is 2011.
    Look at what is being said about Knewton for math. Its Adaptive Learning engine enables each student to have a one on tut that personalizes the learning taking advantage of the plethora of resources on interent

    Look at HeadSprout and Dreambox for elementary age.

    1. Sorry Maureen, in my opinion it could have been said today. We continue to see the same lack of research-confirmed “amazing learning gains” and observe the quirky mathematical decoding observed in Benny by Erlwanger (1973) .

  2. Thank you for posting this. Coming from an influential person like yourself, maybe people will start paying attention. More ‘teacher-proofing’ curriculum in digital form. thank you thank you thank you!

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