Note: This article links directly to a PDF file.
Becker attempts to review Cuban’s initial findings that computers are largely incompatible with classroom teaching. His data, 16 years after Cuban’s initial study, asserts that there are conditions under which the likelihood of computer usage can dramatically increase.
However, I was unable to agree with Becker’s views. He did find Cuban’s assertions to still be correct. Becker claimed, though, that computer usage could improve. My issue with this finding that there were too many caveats required to satisfy Becker’s claims. He stated that a classroom needed at least 5 computers and all students needed an average amount of technical skill. As well, the teacher needs to be highly proficient in using constructionist teaching pedagogy.
While this may not be too difficult to accomplish, there are too many “ifs” to be satisfied. If the computers are fully functional and all software is up-to-date. If teachers have time to write a computer based curriculum. If time within the curriculum permits computer usage (as all teachers know, computer-based tasks take longer). If the teacher is skilled in developing curriculum that can maximise learning using computers.
Once all those “ifs” can be satisfied, then perhaps computers can make a dramatic difference in classroom education. However it’s still a case of shoehorning computers into classrooms.