Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Historians of technology point out that it took a half-century after the introduction of turbine-generated electric power in the U.S to eventually light streets, power trolleys, create industrial assembly lines, and upgrade the home with incandescent lights, refrigerators, telephones, and automatic washers. It took over five decades in fits and starts for these changes to emerge as American leaders electrified factories, transportation, street lighting, and home appliances. On a graph, electrification over these decades bursts ahead and recedes but the trend line is clear.

I believe that the introduction of computer hardware and software into schools in the early 1980s follows a similar fits-and-starts pattern of teachers choosing to integrate new technologies into their lessons. As in electrifying industry and home, the trend of greater access to devices and software and greater use in school is clear, at least from teacher self-reports. See here and here. But a graph…

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