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Missed the Point

Posted By: John Collins on March 11, 2005
The reviewers do an excellent job in framing this book against the major works on the problems with reform, specifically with the use of EdTech: Cuban, (2001, 1993) and Sarason (1990). Pflaum is the first to admit the limitations of his work and he is not a researcher. His recommendations are even off the traditional trail, e.g. limiting EdTech to more appropriate student ages, redistributing EdTech resources to special needs over traditional students, etc. We may personally disagree with these and other comments. However, Pflaum does an excellent job in documenting the various EdTech uses and misuses (also a L. Cuban reference) in a QUALITATIVE manner. Sure he could have gone deeper (500+ pages over 220?). Many of us in the field are looking for the Holy Grail of EdTech. Not sure it even exists . . . refreshing to see a qualitative approach taken that partially reaffirms and documents what we deal with on a routine basis.

Stronger connections could be made to significant EdTech work:

Dickard N. (ed.) (2003). The Sustainability Challenge: Taking EdTech to the Next Level. Washington, DC: Benton Foundation. Available online [http://www.benton.org/publibrary/sustainability/sus_challenge.pdf]

Schacter, J. (1999). The Impact of Education Technology on Student Achievement: What the Most Current Research Has to Say. Santa Monica, CA: Milken Family Exchange on Education Technology. Available online [http://www.milkenexchange.org/project/research/ME161.pdf]

Thompson, A. et.al. (1996). Educational technology: A review of the research (2d ed.). Washington, DC: Association for Educational Communications and Technology.

We should look at nontraditional books (not founded on research or practice) to provide additional evidence to support or refute our own knowledge base. In qualitative circles it is called triangulation (I know ANOTHER overused word . . .)

Give Pflaum a chance; his book does have more redeeming qualities than first appear.

Warm Regards,

John Collins
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 Missed the Point by John Collins on March 11, 2005
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