It is amazing that in education today we still treat many initiatives like a giant one-size-fits-all Snuggie. The lists of failed Snuggie educational programs are long. And despite the fact that many of these do indeed have merit, when applied to groups, schools, or states at large, they often fail miserably, like Texas’ massive standardized testing machine, which is facing a major revolt. The fact is we often are seeking simple solutions when the educational problems are extraordinarily complex. Educational technology is as prone to these phenomena as the rest of education. I often get suggestions that we should buy every student [insert favorite gadget or device here], and the implication is that somehow that will solve all of our educational woes. Ultimately, we need to stop trying to solve every educational issue with a one-size-fits-all Snuggie approach and start looking at identifying specific approaches on the best way to solve those needs—even if that means multiple types of devices, different instructional programs, and more complexity.
Steve Young is the CTO of Judson ISD, TX