From Chalkboards to Computers: How Schools Have Changed

There is no doubt that schools have changed over the past fifty or so years, but the changes are not universal. Some schools have few remnants of the past, while others are relatively unchanged. I had high hopes for the book From Chalkboards to Computers: How Schools Have Changed to show this evolution. However, this book demonstrates a serious problem from page one where it defines what a school is in the most basic of terms, the sort of terms one might use to discuss with a child going to preschool. In fact, this book seem s to be aimed at the pre-k-1st grade audience, which means that the real changes have to be simplified to the degree where the before and after blend. Many of the old vs. new are either indistinguishable or point out things that have mostly not universally changed. For instance cafeteria vs lunchroom where kids bring lunch from home or money vs lunch from home or money on account, or saying that teachers now write on white boards or smart boards and not chalk boards anymore. I still see a lot of chalkboards in classes, and I work with classes in a well-off district.

Basically the problem with this book boils down to the attempt to take a complex topic and simplify it down to a series of dichotomies that mask the actual changes that have taken place over the years. I don’t know that children in this age range are interested in this topic as much as older children who would better be able to digest the subtleties.


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