If you want to start a trend with the public, the school system has proven to be a good place to start. I can think of a few trends that I personally witnessed. The first trend was to push technology in the home, not just in the classroom. My husband and I barely had enough money to pay the mortgage, feed the family, and keep the car running, but we kept reading articles in the newspapers that children did much better at school if they had a home computer. Home computers cost $2000, not money we could get our hands on easily. Huge guilt feelings on our part. Our children would lose any educational advantage they may have had! The parent/teacher interview would go something like this: Teacher: “well, I’m not worried about Alex’s (our middle son) handwriting because he’ll be working on computers in the future anyway. He won’t need handwriting.” The message was clear: Buy a computer or Alex would be chiseling out his writing assignments on stone tablets.
The second trend was the rush to medicate. I again began to feel that my children were being left out. So many children had diagnoses of ADD and ADHD, and dysgraphia (Alex missed out on that one) that the principle’s office had a long line down the hallway at noon of children waiting to be medicated. But, as readers of this blog are already aware, my youngest son Taylor was caught in the ADD web. I was told by the school psychologist that Taylor may never reach his potential if I didn’t put him on Ritalin. I refused to do this. Today, with hindsight, I question who was feeding this information to the school system. Suddenly, teachers were acting like pharma reps.
And, the trend continues. Scare parents into jumping on the digital bandwagon to help Johnny keep up in the classroom. Get the teachers to endorse the product. Get the media to advertise this for you.
— More and more schools are jumping on the digital bandwagon and adopting iPads for daily use in the classroom. Apple’s education-related announcements last week will no doubt bolster the trend, making faculty tools and student textbooks more engaging and accessible.
But today another data point emerged, demonstrating that the iPad can be a valuable asset in education. In a partnership with Apple, textbook publishers Houghton Mifflin Harcourt performed a pilot study using an iPad text for Algebra 1 courses, and found that 20% more students (78% compared to 59%) scored ‘Proficient’ or ‘Advanced’ in subject comprehension when using tablets rather than paper textbook counterparts.