- Paperback: 134 pages
- Publisher: Teachers College Press; 60355th edition (January 1, 1986)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 080772792X
- ISBN-13: 978-0807727928
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #933,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Teachers and Machines: The Classroom Use of Technology Since 1920 60355th Edition
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Overall, I recommend this book. It is well-written, easy-to-read, and makes an important contribution to the literature on the history of educational technology. I believe that this book provides a lot of value in giving us an accurate history of the use of technology in the classroom and reinforces for the readers how many of these trends--especially trends related to the barriers of education technology practice--continue to be relevant today. In this way, Cuban provides a valuable overview of where we have come from and gives us insight into what needs to change to achieve the highest level of educational opportunities for students as possible. Finally, from a historical standpoint, Cuban's book provides an interesting perspective of the hesitancy early in the computer age to embrace it and to realize it's true potential.
The first part of the book examines the use of film and radio into the classroom. The later part of the book discusses possible trends that may occur with the introduction of the personal computer. Criticism concerning the use of fads in public schools has been a prevailing topic from the 1920's until the present. Cuban describes the conflicting social messages teachers and public schools have faced. Some of these conflicting notions are:
1. "Socialize all children, yet nourish each child's individual creativity.
2. Teach the best that the past has to offer, but insure that each child possesses practical skills marketable in the community.
3. Demand obedience to authority, but encourage individual children to think and question.
4. Cultivate cooperation, but prepare children to compete (p 2)."
Cuban explains that the history of technology use in the classroom has been driven by top down decision. Cuban discussed issues in the classroom and introduction of technology in the 1980's when the use of computers in the classroom was just beginning. His revelations are eerily true as to how the computers are used in the classroom today.
Cuban does a successful job of explaining the way in which technology has been implemented in the classroom. His writing style and use of analogies makes his conclusions easy to follow. He strongly states the need for understanding of how teachers teach, their individual pedagogy, and what tools they need in the classroom when implementing the use of technology. The trends he describes from the past, how movies, radios and television have been introduced to the classroom, lack the knowledge provided by the teachers who are in the front line of teaching.
Even though this book was written over twenty years ago the trends that are discussed and the problems dealing with the relationships between policy makers and educators still ring true today. Cuban is able to organize the evolution of technology and policy in a way that relates to the modern implementation of technology in the classroom. It discusses the evolution of developmental theory and its application to the implementation of technology in the classroom in dealing with the effectiveness of technology to engage, interest, and develop students' knowledge and skills. Policy makers, administrators, and teachers can gain a better understanding of how the past has influenced current policy on technology in the classroom from reading this book. This book is a quick and seemingly easy read that will provide the reader with insight into how technology has been used, or not used, in the classroom over the past century and can possibly help to ensure that we do not continue to repeat the same mistakes that in our future implementation of policy as it deals with the use of technology in the classroom.