Well, the author starts out the article on a roll with the opening: “Nothing before has captured the imagination and interest of educators simultaneously around the globe more than the World Wide Web….” Umm… Does everyone have access to the web? Noo….. Is this true? Well, that issue is what the author is investigating.
For technology to be useful in education it must
- Does it make learning more accessible?
- Does it promote improved learning?
- Does it accomplish the above while containing, if not reducing, the per unit costs of education?
Does it make learning more accessible?
Examples of making learning more accessible include several online learning program in higher ed, including “virtual universities”; in k-12, home schooling, alternative schooling and extension courses (e.g., AP classes). Problems include technical difficulties, among others.
Does technology promote improved learning?
Essentially, the jury is out on this question. As the field is still relatively young, and studies have yielded mixed or contradicting results, more studies will need to be done and the results of previous studies examined carefully.
Examples as to how the web might improve learning is that it appeals to student interests, it is flexible ;earning and allows different and new kinds of learning.
Does it accomplish the above while containing, if not reducing, the per unit costs of education?
In higher ed the costs are often hidden because the content is developed by faculty. K-12 costs have not been focused on in as much depth. Educators do have an advantage in that there are free resources online. For all technology, there are ongoing costs through equipment, maintenance, software and service.
In conclusion, the author states that “it merits serious consideration.” Serious consideration? To be honest, I expected the author to take one side or the other (pro-technology, anti-technology) However, it is a more realistic approach to say that the field is too new to make such sweeping conclusions but it shows much promise.