Questions about the “investment.”
I have always been interested in how language (choice of words) influences our thinking. As the Retrospective indicates, the infusion of instructional technology (IT) in schools across the United States in recent years has been described as an “investment.”
John Dewey (1966) stated that education is a function of the society. The language we use to address education as a social phenomenon seems to be reflective of that statement. “Investment,” to follow the business phraseology, implies private interest for a private profit. It also implies that private interest in education is somewhat more important than public good. For example, “what recommendations have been made to support and sustain investment” (p. 7) is a question concerning protection of the enterprise, rather than public interest.
“Investment” also implies that in case of a poor “return on investment,” the action of “investing” can be undone leaving educators with … what? Why this, specific IT “investment’ and not others? Do other administrative entities of our public society such as government and military ask similar questions?
Considering that so far, evidence pointing to improved academic achievement because of a direct IT implementation remains sketchy, (Becker, 2001; Weglinski 1998) the talk on investment in technology brings little merit, but maybe investment itself doesn’t? Are there any studies on who made money selling computer hardware and software to schools in the US? What are the international trends? Is the discussion about “investment” a smoke screen for private corporations to gain access to publicly funded schools leaving educators on a defensive?
Becker (2001) How are teachers using computers in instruction? University of Irvine, AERA Paper.
Dewey, J. (1966) Democracy and Education. Toronto: Collier-Macmillan Canada.
Wenglinski, H. (1998). Does It Compute? The Relationship Between Educational
Technology and Student Achievement in Mathematics. Princeton, NJ: ETS.