From a piece in the Times, it seems some teachers in Idaho aren’t happy about the state mandating the use of computers in education:
This change is part of a broader shift that is creating tension — a tension that is especially visible in Idaho but is playing out across the country. Some teachers, even though they may embrace classroom technology, feel policy makers are thrusting computers into classrooms without their input or proper training. And some say they are opposed to shifting money to online classes and other teaching methods whose benefits remain unproved.
“Teachers don’t object to the use of technology,” said Sabrina Laine, vice president of the American Institutes for Research, which has studied the views of the nation’s teachers using grants from organizations like the Gates and Ford Foundations. “They object to being given a resource with strings attached, and without the needed support to use it effectively to improve student learning.”
In Idaho, teachers have been in open revolt. They marched on the capital last spring, when the legislation was under consideration. They complain that lawmakers listened less to them than to heavy lobbying by technology companies, including Intel and Apple. Teacher and parent groups gathered 75,000 verified signatures, more than was needed, to put a referendum on the ballot next November that could overturn the law.
I think threats to teacher-job-security may also be at issue (computers can and do replace people):
Gov. C. L. Otter, known as Butch, and Tom Luna, the schools superintendent, who have championed the plan, said teachers had been misled by their union into believing the changes were a step toward replacing them with computers. Mr. Luna said the teachers’ anger was intensified by other legislation, also passed last spring, that eliminated protections for teachers with seniority and replaced it with a pay-for-performance system.
Some teachers have also expressed concern that teaching positions could be eliminated and their raises reduced to help offset the cost of the technology.
One teacher near Coeur d’Alene (I wonder what she thinks about the 11th amendment?) is turning to the Socratic Method instead of computers!
That is a concern shared by Ms. Rosenbaum, who teaches at Post Falls High School in this town in northern Idaho, near Coeur d’Alene. Rather than relying on technology, she seeks to engage students with questions — the Socratic method — as she did recently as she was taking her sophomore English class through “The Book Thief,” a novel about a family in Germany that hides a Jewish girl during World War II.
Ms. Rosenbaum, tall with an easy smile but also a commanding presence, stood in the center of the room with rows of desks on each side, pacing, peppering the students with questions and using each answer to prompt the next. What is an example of foreshadowing in this chapter? Why did the character say that? How would you feel in that situation?
Her room mostly lacks high-tech amenities. Homework assignments are handwritten on whiteboards. Students write journal entries in spiral notebooks. On the walls are two American flags and posters paying tribute to the Marines, and on the ceiling a panel painted by a student thanks Ms. Rosenbaum for her service. Ms. Rosenbaum did use a computer and projector to show a YouTube video of the devastation caused by bombing in World War II. She said that while technology had a role to play, her method of teaching was timeless. “I’m teaching them to think deeply, to think. A computer can’t do that.”
Go figure, I would move away from Socratic in my law school classroom, and some high school teachers are moving towards it. Law students of today, and in the near future, will come from high school environments, and more-so college environments, where technology is used in the classroom as a pedagogical tool. Law school classrooms should mirror that experience.