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Oversold and Underused: Computers in the Classroom

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0674011090
ISBN-10: 0674011090
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Challenging "the belief that if technology were introduced to the classroom, it would be used; and if it were used, it would transform schooling," Stanford education professor Larry Cuban (Teachers and Machines) provides a jargon-free, critical look at the actual use of computers by teachers and students in early childhood education, high school and university classrooms in Oversold and Underused: Computers in the Classroom. Combining an historical overview of school technologies with statistical data and direct observation of classroom practices in several Silicon Valley schools, he concludes that, "Without a broader vision of the social and civic role that schools perform in a democratic society, our excessive focus on technology use in schools runs the danger of trivializing our nation's core ideals."

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Cuban (education, Stanford) has written extensively about school reform (e.g., How Scholars Trumped Teachers). In his latest work, he disputes the policymakers who have thrust computers into schools without much regard for the educators who are expected to improve students' learning with the new technologies. In fact, Cuban's 2001-2000 study of Silicon Valley schools, discussed and analyzed in the first two-thirds of the book, showed that less than ten percent of the teachers used their classroom computers at least once a week. Another unanticipated finding was that there was no evidence that information technologies increased students' academic achievement. Arguing that the educational revolution that computers were expected to incite has progressed far too slowly, he recommends that administrators involve teachers in the planning and implementation of technology plans and allow them more unstructured time, technical support, and professional development opportunities to optimize the educational benefits that computers offer. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries. Will Hepfer, SUNY at Buffalo Libs.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (April 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674011090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674011090
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,251,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If you're looking for a thoughtful, insightful analysis of the use of technology in the classroom, this book is NOT it. Two of the book's conclusions seem unassailable, i.e., the benefits from using computer technology in the classroom have been oversold by its proponents and the technology is little used in the classroom despite pervasive access to computers. This, however, is not news, as virtually any thoughtful parent with school-age children could tell you. Unfortunately, the book is rambling, and the analysis is sophomoric and naive. It might have made a useful magazine article, but the book-length format has resulted in the inclusion of so much chaff with the few grains of wheat as to make reading this rambling, poorly argued book a frustrating and annoying experience.
The unspoken assumption that underlies the whole book is that computers represent a genuinely transformative technology that should and inevitably will result in a revolution in instructional methods from pre-school through the university level. The author investigates a number of reasons why this revolution has not yet occurred notwithstanding the pervasive availability of computers in the school systems he studies but fails to investigate or discuss one of the obvious reasons, i.e., that the technology (at least at the current state of hardware and software development) is a vehicle ill-suited to producing the author's hoped-for instructional revolution.
The author uses the advent of film, radio and television as models for the acceptance of new instructional technologies in the school systems. He fails to discuss in any of these cases the ultimate reasons for their failure to revolutionize the classroom experience, i.e., their fundamental unsuitedness to the task.
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Format: Hardcover
In this book, Larry Cuban details why he thinks a moratorium should be placed on all educational funds earmarked for technology. He methodically outlines the case studies of several Silicon Valley Schools. He points out that Silicon Valley, above all other places, should have been able to incorporate on a wide-spread basis technology-infused, student-centered teaching methodologies. Based on his studies, he predicts that not much will change in the near or far future as far as teaching is concerned. But he also offers suggestions as to how the desired changes in teaching might be realized. The book is interesting, well-written, and thought provoking. It may even be thought-provoking enough to facilitate the changes, he predicts will never happen.
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Format: Hardcover
In Larry Cuban's book, Oversold and Underused: Computers in the Classrooms, the author contends that all the technology that has been infused in schools has done little to change the way teachers teach. Furthermore, he believes that technology probably will never change the way teachers teach. He researchers the technology in schools in Silicon Valley, thinking that if technology will change the way we teach, what better place to begin his research. He finds that very little has changed in the way teachers teach and children learn even in this geographical area where technology in schools all began. He gives very detailed and specific research, and then gives his reasons why he believes the way he does. He understands that technology is here to stay, but unless schools first concentrate on learning and their core and social values, technology will continue to be oversold and underused. Although I disagree with him on some of his observations, this book has certainly made me think and will change the way I make future decisions when recommending what technology should be purchased and how it should be incorporated so that it will not be underused.
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Format: Hardcover
School reform has a long history over the past two centuries. It is usual to blame schools and teachers for any current perceived failures. Those who condemn current educational practices also believe schools can make a better society, and are a solution for individual failures and larger social problems.
"Aside from the general lack of evidence concerning young children's experience using computers, there remains the pervasive belief among educators and parents about the inevitability of a future in which today's children will require technological competencies to succeed in the workplace. It is that belief, and not any research findings, that propels parents and educators to invest in preschools and computers" (p.65).
The students who had substantial expertise with computers all gained their expertise outside of school, usually on home computers (p.91). That's because learning about a computer requires much more time than the hour or two a week available at school. The traditional method of teaching is for a knowledgeable person to lecture the students. This method dates back to ancient times: those who know, teach. "In the schools we studied, we found no clear and substantial evidence of students increasing their academic achievement as a result of using information technologies" (p.133).
"Are teeachers' responses to computers similar to earlier technologies?" Films, radio, and television showed no improvement over conventional practices; they also had logistical problems. This "unexpected outcome" resulted in blaming teachers, not poorly designed hardware and software and the political organizational structure. Pages 144 and 148 tell of real-world experiences.
Why was so much money pumped into schools in the 1990s?
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