An illuminating article from the NYT profiles parents and students from a small Kansas town who have had enough of their school's reliance on the Facebook-backed educational software, Summit Learning.
From the article:
Many families in the Kansas towns, which have grappled with underfunded public schools and deteriorating test scores, initially embraced the change. Under Summit’s program, students spend much of the day on their laptops and go online for lesson plans and quizzes, which they complete at their own pace. Teachers assist students with the work, hold mentoring sessions and lead special projects. The system is free to schools. The laptops are typically bought separately.
Then, students started coming home with headaches and hand cramps. Some said they felt more anxious. One child began having a recurrence of seizures. Another asked to bring her dad’s hunting earmuffs to class to block out classmates because work was now done largely alone.
The article goes on to mention the rising popularity of self-directed and student-led learning and that Summit was promised to help usher in this new wave of pedagogy. Initially, the community rallied around it but it wasn't long until students organized a walk-out in protest of the product while parents displayed "Don't plummet with Summit" signs on their lawns.
What does this mean for the still-developing relationship between edtech companies and schools? And how might it affect our work as we consider the learner of the future?