Education is more than about the tools

Many education departments around the globe are rolling out or considering the roll out of some form of one-to-one computer program.  Some programs even have the students taking the laptop computer home.

So with these programs in mind I read with interest this article on the NY Times website – Computers at Home: Educational Hope vs. Teenage Reality.  The article basically highlights a couple of US studies showing not an improvement in academic outcomes for students, but actually a decline in academic performance during the introduction of laptop computers to low socio-economic households.

So this got me thinking.  Lots of questions not many answers yet!

Why do we expect that simply supplying new tools will improve students’ IQ?

Should we evaluate technology programs like these outside of the IQ domain?

Maybe the student outcome improvements are actually in the EQ and SQ domains. Maybe the improvement is around self-esteem and a sense of personal connection with teachers and support staff.

Maybe providing students who have very little, is more about allowing them to feel like their peers who already have the technology.  Maybe its about removing a social stigma and helping them to experience their own self-worth, as opposed to leaping their IQ.

I can’t answer these questions, but I hope someone can, at some stage!

But what I do know is education is more than supplying the latest tools, the best resources and the nicest classroom.  These things help, but they are not the complete picture.  Education is about relationship and that must encompass the emotional and social literacy that I keep talking about.

If tools like computers allow students from families with little to feel like everyone else, then I say roll out the one-to-one laptop programs FAST! If that is not the case, let’s find out what is and work from there!

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