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Strip Mining for Gold: Research and Policy in Educational Technology—A Response to “Fool’s Gold”

, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, United States ; , United States

AACE Journal Volume ISSN 1065-6901 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA


Several recent articles have addressed the issue of the translation and interpretation of education research for the purpose of affecting policy (e.g., Educational Researcher 29(6).) We respond to the publication of, and media attention to , Fool’s gold: A critical look at computers in childhood (Cordes & Miller, 2000). This report delineates some important issues for discussion and includes several valid concerns. However, we believe its presentation of half-truths and misleading interpretations of theory and research under the guise of academic respectability not only presents an unfortunate one-sided picture of the issues and related empirical research, but, more generally, plays the U.S. media game to the detriment of research, intellectual discourse, and, ultimately, children. Misuse of technology by some and overzealous promotion by others are not valid reasons for misrepresenting the field or for speciously framing the computer as the lightning rod for a broad range of criticisms that we argue can be reasonably attributed to no single source. Such incomplete and dishonest reporting misdirects attention from the wider web of political and pedagogical concerns, trammels the progress of research and expert practice that can guide developmentally appropriate and beneficial use of computers, and does violence to the academic enterprise by reinforcing the cynical belief that research can also support either of polar opposite opinions. In this article, we hope to correct misconceptions about computers in education, but more so, to argue for a complete, balanced, consideration and reporting of research, especially when addressing policy implications.


Clements, D. & Sarama, J. (1999). Strip Mining for Gold: Research and Policy in Educational Technology—A Response to “Fool’s Gold”. AACE Journal. Charlottesville, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved August 20, 2019 from .

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