September 22, 2012

“Q: But there are statistics to show that in most cases technology in schools doesn’t work.

A: The statisticians ask a silly question and get a silly answer. Of course “technology doesn’t work.” Technology doesn’t do anything. People do. Statistics that lump together technology implementations across the board — averaging the good with the bad — only prove that throwing a lot of computers into an otherwise unchanged school will just leave you with an unchanged school. What else is new? Technology gives people the opportunity to create new, high-expectation learning environments. If we don’t have the vision and the courage to take advantage of the opportunity, statistics will continue to prove the obvious. The critics of the use of technology in schools are absolutely right when they cast doubt on technology’s cost effectiveness. But the cause of widespread low effectiveness is not the technology. It is using digital technology without a vision of a digital world. And often it is using technology at a level below the critical mass at which it has a chance to be used effectively.”

Papert, S. and Caperton, G. (1999) Vision for Education: The Caperton-Papert Platform. Essay written for the 91st annual National Governors’ Association Meeting in St. Louis, MO. August 1999.

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