The Dragon in the School’s Backyard: A Review of Literature on the Uses of Technology in Urban Schools

The Dragon in the School’s Backyard: A Review of Literature on the Uses of Technology in Urban Schools

Terry Kidd (University of Texas Health Science Center, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-150-8.ch019
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Abstract

The introduction of technology into classrooms during the 1980s was heralded by many as the dawn of a new era in American education. Proponents argued that technology had the potential to fundamentally transform the nature of teaching and learning. However, over time, this dream became a nightmarish reality. Likewise, educators concerned about the chronic underachievement of urban learners often fell prey to the allure of technology as a tool for reversing the historical influences of poverty, discrimination, inequity, chronic underachievement, and lack of opportunity. However, twenty-five years after the introduction of the computer into the classroom, many of the expectations associated with technology in education remain unrealized. This chapter hopes to discuss some of the issues and trends associated with technology adoption and usage at urban schools.
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Introduction

The introduction of microcomputers into classrooms during the 1980s was heralded by many as the dawn of a new era in American education. Proponents argued that technology had the potential to fundamentally transform the nature of teaching and learning (Papert, 1980; U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, 1988). However, over time, it has become apparent that it is far easier to acquire hardware, software, and Internet access (Vonderwell & Peterman, 2008; Bailie, 2007; Javeri, 2007; Teclehaimanot 2006; Becker, 1991; Dividing lines, 2001;) than it is to capture the potential of technology in significantly meaningful outcomes (Cuban, 2001). Likewise, educators concerned about the chronic underachievement of urban learners often fall prey to the allure of technology as a tool for reversing the historical influences of poverty, discrimination, inequity, chronic underachievement, and lack of opportunity. However, twenty five years after the introduction of the computer into the classroom, many of the expectations associated with technology in education remain unrealized. In this chapter, we discuss new technological horizons for urban learners and highlight issues relating to the trends of technology in urban schools. Like the sleeping dragon of mythology, the power of technology lies dormant until provoke, then once provoked, one becomes witness to its awesome power and capabilities.

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