The outcry against exploitative online for-profit education is growing at roughly the same rate as the clamor for increasing amounts of educational technology — laptops, tablets, smart boards — from preschool to life-long learning. Unfortunately, a lot of the conversation is sliding into the “pro” and “con” mode of contemporary punditry. What we most need right now is to pause before we pontificate and to patiently untangle the many intertwined strands in the arguments for and against ed tech. By separating out different threads in this conversation, we can make better decisions about if, when, and in what situations we can really learn effectively online.
Here are seven key questions designed to help any parent or student sort out the competing interests that currently drive technology into our schools — or keep technology out of some other schools.