I am an enthusiastic user of ICT in my education. My PhD research concerned the use of ICT. One could so I see a lot of potential in the use of computers for learning. Some advantages are evident to me: good software can provide feedback to students working at home, can provide randomization and thus thousands of exercises, and teachers can often scrutinize work made by students. This warrants research, especially under what conditions ICT works or doesn’t work. In other words: I am not an ICT skeptic.
However, more and more often, I worry about the fluff and fancy words surrounding ICT and education. Yes, Khan should be admired for what he has done. Yes, education should look into the aforementioned possibilities. But NO, this doesn’t mean we need consultants, hypes, innovation projects, all costing a lot of money, and with absolutely no results. Five years ago the buzz word was “open standards”, and rightly so, but instead of financing projects that resulted in actual working interoperable content, emphasis seem to be on projects that still had to find out how interoperability could be obtained. But because of the ‘fancy words’ and Big Promises these projects were funded. almost no-one bothered, a few years on, to see whether the money was well spent.
The same is happening now, with popular buzzwords being ‘innovation’, ‘social media’ and ‘crowdsourcing’. There certainly are good projects that go around. Please, do not fund projects based on Big Words, but on expected outcome and impact for the field. Funding is not there to provide work for consultants or the frontrunners within an organization.