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Cuban is "Out to Lunch"

Posted By: Patrick Greene on July 13, 2006
I have read Larry Cuban avidly for a very long time. Previously, his unsupported diatribes have been of the order of: "Computers are not being used very much". He often speculated weakly on the reasons for that.
In this article, his still unsupported diatribe is showing his luddite secret beliefs. He is writing as if he was mentally frozen in 1989 or so. There is so much bad information in this article that it would require a very long article to sort them all out. I will list just the cream of the rotten crop.
1. Assumptions that "Teaching is telling, and learning is listening" reveal stunted growth in pedagogical knowledge, and maybe even knowledge of the public's ideas about teaching/learning. Most researchers, today, have revised their ideas about pedagogy because of the changed nature of employment. Only those that have a vested interest in the status quo have insisted that pedagogical ideas can't change. And these are not students.
2. Views of assessment practices and views of what learning means has a great deal to do with the energy a school places in integrating technology into the curriculum. The "what was good enough for my parents, is good enough for my kids" view will not see many technological changes in the classroom. A "it's not what you can memorize, but what you can do" attitude will encourage use of technology. The same for the "assessment means multiple-choice testing" vs. "assessment is intrinsic in doing" view. Many professional educators have changed their views in this regard and are in the process of changing their educational systems to reflect those changes in views.
3. Something happened after Cuban's brain froze. It's called the Internet. More and more of the public is beginning to realize that the Internet's profound impact on society must also have a profound impact on education. The Internet completely changes what we mean by education, and the public is beginning to get it. Greater and greater use of technology in the classroom is proof. Look at whats going on in Maine. Look at the $100 laptop initiative.
4. The present generation of school kids are technological. Teachers are the only ones left in the classroom without a clue. This is going to cause more and more pressure from families to bring schools out of the 1950s and into the 21st Century. We are already seeing this.
5. Public education is no longer the strict monopoly that it has been since the 19th Century. Vouchers and charter schools are beginning to allow individual schools to innovate, and bring in customers (students) for the first time in American public school history. Where the monopoy always squashed innovations in schools, individual schools cannot be thusly cowed.
Buckle up, things are changing rapidly, even if Larry Cuban is not.

Patrick J. Greene, PhD
Florida Gulf Coast University
Educational Technology
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 Cuban is "Out to Lunch" by Patrick Greene on July 13, 2006
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