Article Assessment 3

Bethany Waggoner
Tools for the Mind
Mary Burns

In the 1990s optimism was high for the potential of using computers as “mind tools” to promote higher order thinking skills. Since then, that optimism has faded along with the faith that technology can improve learning. In Tools for the Mind, Mary Burns claims that today is a good time to reassess what our original goals for technology use in the classroom were, and to note how we have diverged from them.

Teachers have been trained in technology skills but not given ideas of how to use technology to enhance student learning. Districts have not supplied teachers with sufficient professional development in technology, hardware, software, instructional time, or technical support. Schools have put student engagement ahead of learning and thinking. Instead of using technology for higher order thinking such as problem solving, analysis and evaluation, we most commonly use applications such as PowerPoint and Word, which focus on simple cognitive tasks. According to Burns, spreadsheets, databases, geographic information systems, computer-aided design programs, and simulation software programs are tools that promote high-level thinking but are rarely utilized by teachers.

Burns concludes that in order for computers to aid us in expanding the critical thinking skills of our students, we must know how to properly utilize them.


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