Wednesday, December 23, 2015

More Unsupported Claims about Technology and 21St Century Learning

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) is one of several groups pushing for more money for technology in the schools.  In a recent document (CoSN, 2015), they assert that "Education is going digital" (p. 6) and claim that "schools still lack the broadband speeds to deliver 21st century learning, encounter major problems with capacity, and do not meet current industry wireless standards" (p. 5). 

The only evidence cited supporting this statement is the results of a survey of 531 "district administrators/technology leaders/Chief Technology Officers …. from 48 states." (p. 7). These tech specialists agreed that the technology in their schools needed improvement, and that their schools' technology was far behind industry standards and recommendations. 

No teachers were included in the survey, those who actually use the technology regularly.  There was no concern with whether the current level of technology is sufficient to meet the needs of teachers and students in school today, nor any discussion of whether industry standards are appropriate for education. The document does not define what 21st century learning is and what technology is required to achieve it.  Nor is any research cited showing that technology helps students learn more.  In fact, there is evidence that so far, it does not (OECD, 2015).
It is no surprise that CoSN is financially supported by companies that are profiting from the increase in testing and technology in the schools: Pearson, Microsoft, Dell, (see: and, of course, The Gates Foundation (

Consortium for School Networking. (2015). CoSN’s 2015 annual E-rate and infrastructure survey. Retrieved from
OECD (2015), Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris.

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