I read the comments and the original articles on Larry Cuban’s blog with great interest. My own research around the individual characteristics and experiences of teachers involved in computer integration (Mueller, Wood, Willoughby, DeYoung, Ross, & Specht, 2008) suggests that it may not be the technology itself that has an impact on student learning but rather the teachers who are willing to integrate technology are using innovative practice, gathering data, and evaluating practice to improve student learning—one by one, teacher by teacher. As Tyack and Cuban (1995) suggest (as cited by Westin & Bain, 2010), ineffective school reforms have been “done to it, not by it”. Individual student success and effective integration of new cognitive tools may be a result of effective practice and teacher initiative rather than system-wide technology “projects”.
As so many of you have mentioned, the technology is merely a “cognitive tool”—emphasis on the ‘cognitive’—that supports an explicit consideration of how students learn. Planning to use this technology can demand that teachers understand the complex processes and higher order thinking that is necessary in realizing the potential of this “cognitive tool.”
Teachers who are successful at integrating technology also have and/or develop content and pedagogical knowledge (TPACK, Koehler & Mishra, 2009). It is this integrated body of knowledge and skills within an authentic learning context that results in effective instruction and positive student outcomes. Perhaps the journey to this integration is the secret to success.
I appreciate the wisdom and professional discussion so readily available as a result of this blogging technology.