Your Name and Title:James Bosco, Professor Emeritus

School or Organization Name: Western Michigan University

Area of the World from Which You Will Present: Michigan, USA

Language in Which You Will Present: English

Target Audience(s): K-12 administrators, teachers, policy leaders

Short Session Description (one line):

Getting past "buisness as usual with digital media" to the use of digital media to transform the

conduct of schooling requires the solution of a series of "easy" and :difficult problems. 

Full Session Description (as long as you would like):

We now have thirty or so years of experience with the use of digital media (DM) in schools.  Proponents contend that DM has had significant positive impact on our schools and opponents believe that DM has had little if any significant beneficial consequence for the improving learning in our schools.  In fact, both sides are correct depending on where one looks to assess the impact of DM. The situation one finds, from district to district, ranges from places where considerable progress has been made to places that seem mired in the nineties. Thus, it is not useful to talk about the impact of DM on schools in general, since abstract generalizations obscure the considerable variability that is abundantly visible when one has the opportunity to actually see what is happening in various school districts in the U.S. 

In districts where great work is being accomplished,   key district personnel do not claim they are where they need to be with regard to making effective use of DM for the students in their district.  They tend think of their situation as “a work in progress” and to be quite aware of the problems yet to be solved. Ironically, but not surprisingly, in districts that lag behind in the best practice use of DM their personnel often seem more satisfied with where they are than their more successful colleagues .

At this point it is useful to take stock of where we are with regard to the problems that need to be solved in order to take some good and big steps forward.  This presentation will provide an inventory of the easy and hard problems that need to solve in order to move closer to realizing the full potential of DM for learning.    The problems that I include as the “easy” ones are easy only in contrast to the “hard” problems.  The “easy” problems are generally those that pertain to the technology itself.  The “hard” problems are those which transcend the technology and deal with other structural aspects of the school program that are critical to the best practice use of DM. . While many of the districts making significant progress are still contending with some of the "easy" problems, such districts are also demonstrating a commitment to solve the hard problems.


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