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As a fourth year doctoral candidate, in addition to having completed comprehensive examinations and prospectus and working on the dissertation, my thoughts are also turning towards the job market and securing that first academic position. This purpose of this blog is to chronicle the trials and tribulations of completing my Ph.D. and finding that first job.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Is This Something We Really Need to Tell the Public?

Okay, I know it has been a while since I posted anything here (for reasons why, see my personal blog - Rock Ruminations).

Anyway, this news item came through my ASCD SmartBrief today and I thought it was interesting.

Electronic toys' teaching potential often hyped, experts say

Electronic toys with educational claims are a fast-growing segment of the total toy market in Australia, but Macquarie University professor John Hedberg says the most educational gadgets are robots and other gadgets that challenge children to invent, to construct and to use their imaginations.

The Age (Melbourne, Australia)/LiveWire (free registration) (7/6)
Now, I'm not going to say that they're wrong. In fact, I know of John Hedberg (he does some work with one of my co-chairs) and I respect his opinions. What struck me about this piece was that the public needed to be told about it in the first place.

I mean, where have these people been living for the past decade, under a rock? While I know the whole concept of no significant differences and the shear tonage of literature that we have in the academy about the fact that technology doesn't affect learning may have jaded me a it, but hasn't word about this gotten out to the public yet?

Haven't there been tons and tons of news reports about the tons of money spent on technology in the schools with no change in student performance? Didn't journalist Todd Oppenheimer first tip the public of to this in his Atlantic Monthly piece, The Computer Delusion, and if they missed that, surely they caught his book -
The Flickering Mind: The False Promise of Technology in the Classroom and How Learning Can Be Saved? And even if they missed Oppenheimer altogether, or decided not to trust him because he is a journalist, wouldn't they have heard of or read something by Larry Cuban (Oversold and Underused : Computers in the Classroom is one example that comes to mind)? These two books alone have sold hundreds of thousands of copies, that must surely be more than the number of instructional and/or educational technologists out there?

I guess what this boils down to is the message is technology in and of itself is not a good learning tool. Has the public gotten the message? If not, why haven't they gotten it yet and what can we do to correct that?

Tags: graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education, technology

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Statistics for June

As I mentioned in a post on one of my other blogs (see How Do You Say Good-Bye?) this has been a tough time for me, so the stats this month will be fairly bare bones (it also accounts for the lack of activity this past two weeks)...

As of this moment there are 2095 hits to this blog based upon the straight counter. It read 1824 at the end of May. These hits came from 97 unique visitors: 69 first timers and 28 repeat offenders for an average of 3 visitors a day.

These visitors came from the United States, Canada, Philippines, Malaysia, Turkey, Japan, Hungary, Finland, the United Kingdom, Barbados, and India.

Until next month when hopefully much of this will be past me.

Tags: blog, blogging, blogs, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education