Students are “bombarded by information that has not been vetted by anyone—not everything you read is accurate,” Ravitch said. Wikipedia, she noted, is a “brilliant innovation,” but anyone can insert their strong or biased opinions, and those opinions will remain on a “factual” page until challenged or erased by someone with proper knowledge on the subject, if challenged at all.
Though technology helps us make progress, a certain amount of student insight and creativity might be lost with the advent of computers that are programmed to grade student essays. While certainly cheaper than human evaluators, “no machine can judge nuance, or irony, or tone, or some amazing bursts of creativity,” Ravitch said. “I fear the use of these programs will inevitably reduce student work. … I fear a loss of thoughtfulness” as students write papers to satisfy a computer.
Technology, she concluded, should be used to expand and challenge students’ views of the world—but should not stifle student and teacher creativity.
“This is the thinking of a world too flat for me. … Don’t let them flatten you,” Ravitch said. “Don’t let them give you a number—we are not cattle; we should not be branded. Let us dare to use technology as it should be used—to dream, create, explore, and learn without boundaries. Let us use the power of technology to say ‘No’ to those who want to standardize our minds and the minds of our students.”