Long-time ed tech journalist, Larry Press, has been monitoring how college freshmen are using online learning tools. Check out his article below.
I draw two important implications from Larry’s report:
- Kids who want to get into top colleges like UCLA will voluntarily seek out open educational resources without being forced to do so by teachers’ assignments. This was one of the effects that ed tech pioneers hoped for. It’s gratifying to see that we were right.
- Ambitious African American kids, who may well represent many populations with limited access to learning resources through their schools, are even stronger voluntary users of computer-based teaching than more privileged kids. This was another phenomenon we speculated about early on.
In the 1980s when computers were beginning to penetrate classrooms there was considerable concern that gifted and/or white kids would be steered into programming classes while minority and/or remedial students would only get to use computers for drill and practice. (See Hispanic Education and Technology, for example.) We didn’t have the internet at that time so teachers were the gatekeepers. We also didn’t have the wide cafeteria of teaching resources now accessible via the internet outside of classrooms. We predicted computing would change relationships among formal schools, teachers and learners. This UCLA study supports that idea.