Sunday, March 26, 2006
Technology for Really Dumb Dummies
I'd been following the story of Barbara Bush's Katrina donation being earmarked for her grand-nephew Neil Bush's junkware company, Ignite! Learning, with the vague interest I have for most of the numerous scandals of the Bush administration. Then a TPM post with a reader's description of clueless and entitled Neil's visit to his lower-east side middle school piqued my interest in what his company's deal is. It turns out their main product is called a COW (Curriculum On Wheels), a bulbous box on a rolling stand in which they've managed to stuff a "computer, projector, and speakers)" and "comes pre-loaded with all of Ignite!'s Science or Social Studies courses."
While they think this nifty little self-enclosed system is a plus ("You just plug it in and start teaching!"), it's really the worst kind of condescension toward teachers that I can imagine. How stupid would it be to purchase a computer and projector that can only be used for one purpose?!? And Neil Bush as much as admits that he doesn't trust teachers to make their own decisions with technology when he says something I can't repeat here about the COW's dummy-proof design (see the link referenced above). There are just so many things wrong with this product I can't bear to list them all...