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Sunday
Jun032012

BFTP: The poor will have computers; the rich will have teachers

A weekend Blue Skunk "feature" will be a revision of an old post. I'm calling this BFTP: Blast from the Past. Original post July 6, 2007. After reading this morning's front page expose in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, "Fraud, waste hijack tutoring program", Synder's contrarian POV seems especially prescient. Sleazy online providers offer "free computers" to families that sign up for their (taxpayer funded) services. Hello? How about giving a few college kids tutoring jobs instead?

Most educators feel students who have the greatest access to computers are the most educationally fortunate. However, Tom Snyder, an educational software developer, envisioned a time when this might not be the case. As a part of a speculative timeline, he wrote in a 1999 article:

“A presidential commission has been established to study the growing inequity in computer allocation. Apparently, most computers are being used to deliver instruction to poor kids in the inner-city schools, putting these students at a clear disadvantage. All the best jobs and places in incoming college classes are going to applicants who were ‘fully teacher taught'.” from “Technology, Trends, and Gizmos: A Timeline for the ’90s and Beyond” Technology & Learning, September 1990, 92-98. 

As it turns out, Synder was partially right. The poor have computers; the affluent have computers and human teachers who know how to use them constructively. 

 

Photo from Star Tribune article linked above.

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