Publication Date: April 5, 2017
(Print Publication Date: June 15, 1986)
Film and radio, television, and computers have each been heralded by reformers as a way to revolutionize classroom instruction by increasing productivity. “The promises implied in these aids caught educators’ attention: individualized instruction, relief from tedium of repetitive activities, and presentation of content beyond what was available to a classroom teacher.” How have teachers responded to the promise of improvement?
To answer this question, Larry Cuban has gathered evidence from many diverse sources, constructing a history of technology and education that reveals hidden or ignored patterns in the teacher-machine courtship. He traces cycles of acceptance and denial; the enthusiasm of reformers; the initial optimism of the educational community; the hesitancy, doubts, and frustrations of teachers; and the very slow and limited acceptance of the new technology. He also asks, Why have so few teachers used machines? His answers, drawing from a range of disciplines, will prod readers into viewing the current passion for classroom computers in a different light. This now classic text provides a much-needed perspective on technology in the classroom.
Larry Cuban is Professor Emeritus of Education at Stanford University. His books include Hugging the Middle—How Teachers Teach in an Era of Testing and Accountability, How Scholars Trumped Teachers, Powerful Reforms with Shallow Roots, How Teachers Taught, Teachers and Machines, Frogs into Princes, Why Is It So Hard to Get Good Schools?, and How Can I Fix It?
“Will undoubtedly be cited in the future as the major source on the history of technology and teaching in the classroom.”
—History of Education Quarterly
“Through Cuban’s work we can develop an understanding for how teachers define their jobs in ways that outside innovators have never appreciated. His work thus contributes a much needed vision from within.”