Skip to content
Hardcover The Flickering Mind: The False Promise of Technology in the Classroom and How Learning Can Be Saved Book

ISBN: 1400060443

ISBN13: 9781400060443

The Flickering Mind: The False Promise of Technology in the Classroom and How Learning Can Be Saved

The Flickering Mind, by National Magazine Award winner Todd Oppenheimer, is a landmark account of the failure of technology to improve our schools and a call for renewed emphasis on what really works.... This description may be from another edition of this product.


Format: Hardcover

Temporarily Unavailable

1 person is interested in this title.

We receive 1 copy every 6 months.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Devastating the motivational myth

The Flickering Mind devastates the notion that computers in school somehow provide children with an educational boost. In fact, by draining funds from traditional programs and distracting teachers and students from real learning, computers have been an educational drag. Oppenheimer exposes the underpinning of the arguments of pro-computer political leaders and educators as a blind faith that computers can motivate students to learn in a way that teachers cannot. We should be relieved that the computer's motivational power for education has been revealed to be a myth. This motivational myth has not only cost billions but it has obscured the real value of computers for education (at least in elementary grades). Computers excel at quantitative work. People excel at qualitative work. Motivating a student to learn is not a quantitative task, instead it is one of the most challenging of qualitative tasks. Computers cannot motivate students except in the novelty stage (as can any new activity). Motivating the individual student must be left to the humans in closest proximity and thus the responsibility largely falls to the teacher. Leaders looking for the next quick fix for education's woes should not throw the computers out and swing the pendulum back 50 years. Unfortunately there is little in The Flickering Mind which argues against such a backlash. Oppenheimer's conclusions that we should give teachers more responsibility, pay them more and step back from standardized testing as the primary measure of learning effectiveness are easy to agree with. I disagree, however, that the computer is just another teaching tool in the same category as the overhead projector. While it is not the motivator that many have believed in, the computer has more potential than a fixed-function machine because of its adaptability and interconnectivity. This potential has been overlooked because the idea of the computer as the magic motivator has drawn all the attention. A paradigm-shift in thinking is needed to illuminate the real opportunity that the computer and the Internet hold for primary grade education which I call "paperless teaching."

Poverty kids get computers, rich kids get teachers

More elegantly, FORBES editor Stephen Kindel wrote (almost 20 years ago) that "it is the poor who will be chained to the computer; the rich will get teachers."Oppenheimer visits numerous classrooms -- described alertly and sensitively -- and talks to innumerable teachers, students, company leaders, and others, observing the realities of technology in the classroom. He reports striking findings of good research into learning, since education has, in fact, a "long, abundantly documented history." His book is exceptionally readable and timely. It also prompts concern, e.g. about young lawyers dependent on online indexes who "'don't know how to use the books.'" He especially prompts concern for the experience of millions of students who will pass through priceless years of capacity for learning while being cheated because of administrators, teachers and parents who have fallen for "e-lusions," as Oppenheimer calls them. At least two audiences should read this book:(1) Ed school faculty -- As professionals training the new generation of teachers, you owe it to them and to yourself to be conversant with this book. If you are overworked, I sympathize; but you need to know this book, and probably need to assign the book as required reading, or at least require passages from it.If the following terms are familiar to you, you'll recognize matters the author deals with:attention spancollaborative learningcriticial thinkingconstructivismcoursewaredistance learning & university systems"guide at the side, not sage on the stage"information economyinstructional technology workerlaptops in all classroomsmastery learningmultiple intelligencesNo Child Left Behindpartnerships with businessportfoliosproject-based learningreadability formulasRenaissance Learning (a company)service learningtask forces for curriculum development & technology(2) Parents who are anxious that their kids need the school or the home to invest in state-of-the-art computers.Here are a few sentences I marked:"Among the greater ironies of the computer age is that information is cheap and accessible, and so no longer very valuable. What is valuable is what is done with it. And human imagination cannot be mechanized.""Technology promises an experience by which we don't have to do anything to make it happen."There is a need for deepened human relations "which are very different interactions than the faux relationships conducted over the Internet."

Great read about something that needs to be said

I'm astounded at the vitrolic responses on this site to this meticulously researched and well-told narrative about the downside to yet another panacea offered to rescue public education in America. Read the book -- and these negative reviews -- you'll see that the story these critics see is in their heads, not on the the pages that Oppenheimer wrote. You'll also see why time and again that education has been hijacked by both those with good intentions and those with hardline agendas and rigid theories that claim to know what's best. This is a brave book, and a compelling read.

Open minds in closed spaces

How interestting to compare and contrast the editorial and customer reviews. Could these people have been reading two different books? How appropriate would this contrast be for an illustration of Plato's cave analogy. Incompatible realms of reality require the death of one incompatible party. Or do they?In the education business the labels are so significant that non-conformity is a death warrant. Perhaps, the effort to read sub-texts rather than plain text is a hard thing to do. Oppenheimer is a non-nazi that is also a non-marxist who dares to ask a few WHY questions and make some serious points about education that need to be addressed with intellectual integrity rather than partizan alacrity. If our "public schools" were in perfect shape and produced the best education in the world for citizens of the best country in the world whose taxes support the best teachers in the world, a book like "The Flickering Mind" would be useless; however, if the converse is true, then the book is worth a reading and its theses merit careful consideration rather than condemnation since better teachers are the ones who produce better students rather than viceversa.

Thinking Critically About Technology in Education...

I've worked as a district level administrator in the K-12 world of educational technology since 1996. The questions and topics that Todd raises in this book are identical to the frustrations many of are dealing with on a daily basis. It's astonishing how many of today's educators have a blanket assumption that "technology" translates into "student achievement" or "improved student learning". The first 100 pages of Todd's book do a great job of deconstructing the biased research that's used as sales material by the technology companies.This is the first decent "critical" look at technology in education. A must read for anybody working in the educational technology field.
Copyright © 2023 Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell/Share My Personal Information | Cookie Policy | Cookie Preferences | Accessibility Statement
ThriftBooks® and the ThriftBooks® logo are registered trademarks of Thrift Books Global, LLC
GoDaddy Verified and Secured