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Hard to figure it out

The New York Times recently published an item under this headline: "Study Gauges Value of Technology in Schools."

Turns out the study, by the Center for American Progress, found very little value in the technologies available in schools, according to the article.

But, I am flummoxed by the piece more than I am enlightened.

One criticism, for example, is that 34 percent of eighth-graders used computers to drill basic math facts rather than doing spreadsheets or whatever else the author had in mind that eighth-graders should be doing. Programming? Designing games? Discovering algorithms?

I just don't get what the Center for American Progress would have educators do. I mean, many schools right now give elementary studnets iPads, with which one imagines they access Internet resources of all kinds beyond e-mail and Facebook.

And I am trying to square up the conclusions of the CAP with the now-widely-shared TED talk by a scientist in India who placed computers programmed in English in remote villages on that continent to see what kids would do with them. Turns out the kids learned English so they could learn everything else that was out there, and they did so without adult intervention.

Is it a waste of money if they aren't doing spreadsheets?

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