Apparently our brilliant overlords think chucking social studies textbooks for, I dunno, Jetpunk geography quizzes and Wikipedia’d history is a great idea:
In a first for MNPS, the district opted not to purchase social studies textbooks this year when the time came to replace outdated versions every six years.
Instead, Metro administrators have asked teachers to use websites, interactive videos and primary resources as the main way to teach history, geography and other social studies topics. Though older textbooks will still be in classrooms, and teachers can use them as resources, they are no longer the central focus.
It’s a “digital classroom” these days, officials say, and teachers need flexibility to use curriculum not offered in the old-fashioned print textbook.
Ah yes, the “digital classroom,” that great beacon of our future. Last time I wrote about this in 2011, I linked to this New York Times piece about the failure of Arizona’s tech-intensive classrooms to actually educate:
Since 2005, scores in reading and math have stagnated in Kyrene, even as statewide scores have risen.
To be sure, test scores can go up or down for many reasons. But to many education experts, something is not adding up — here and across the country. In a nutshell: schools are spending billions on technology, even as they cut budgets and lay off teachers, with little proof that this approach is improving basic learning.
Indeed. It bears remembering that the very people touting the “digital classroom” and education based on computer gimmicks tend to be the same people selling school districts the high-tech gadgetry in the first place. I’ve long suspected that a big part of this push is to basically advertise certain brands to kids, often at taxpayer expense — to create future customers for Microsoft and Apple, for instance, the same way tobacco companies reached kids with their Joe Camel campaign.
It’s also kinda bizarre that we’re going all-in on technology in the classroom on the one hand, while barely two weeks ago we were told how important it is to teach cursive handwriting in Tennessee’s schools. Weird.
But yes, DO remind me how the problem with Tennessee’s schools is teachers and teacher’s unions. I’m all ears.