Claims about the power of new electronic devices to “revolutionize” schooling are a dime a dozen. Yet, if they are nearly worthless, why have smart people said them over and over again? Asks Larry Cuban, a former high school social studies teacher, district superintendent) and professor emeritus of education at Stanford University. The answer is deeply embedded in American culture: a love affair with technology as the elixir of everlasting improvement in all things personal and institutional. In the past quarter-century, quasi-miraculous changes have occurred in communication, information accessibility, business and commercial activities, combat operations, medical diagnosis and...

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