Oversold and Underused: Software in Schools (Thomas Arnett)

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Thomas Arnett is a Research Fellow of Education at the Clayton Christensen Institute. This appeared in Education Next November 30, 2018.

Earlier this month, education news outletsbuzzed with a frustrating, yet unsurprising, headline: Most educational software licenses go unused in K-12 districts. The source of the headline is a recent report by Ryan Baker, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Learning Analytics. Baker analyzed data from BrightBytes, a K-12 data management company, on students’ technology usage across 48 districts. That data revealed that a median of 70% of districts’ software licenses never get used, and a median of 97.6% of licenses are never used intensively.

The findings unveil a clear disconnect between district software procurement and classroom practice. To be clear, not all software is high quality, which means teachers may have good reason to not adopt some software products that fail to deliver positive student learning…

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