Computer lab in a classroom. Credit: Derek Bruff / Flickr Creative Commons
Sometimes, applying tech in the classroom is.
learned this the hard way. He served as the managing director of Microsoft Research India, and was empowered to spend money helping students engage with tech.
That was a really hard job. He observed one classroom where the teacher spent 15 or 20 minutes just setting up a computer and projector.
“And this was for a 45 minute class,” Toyama says. “And so by the time everything was running, half the class was over.”
Toyama is now an associate professor at the University of Michigan and the author of. And he says that not only was tech time-consuming for teachers, but ultimately took away from students.
It also felt dissonant with the rest of his experience at Microsoft.
“One of the things I remember, being at a technology company, was this schism between what we heard as employees and what we told the outside world,” says Toyama.
“We believe in the power of individuals and companies to produce great products, but then we basically claim that it’s those products that are doing the magic.”
For Toyama, this message was misleading.
He also discovered that parents in the tech industry () often don’t allow their children much screen time.
“Most of them have restrictions, often very severe on how much time a child can interact with a computer,” says Toyama.