Technologies I Used in My Classroom in the 1950s: Recapturing How I Taught A Half-century Ago

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

When I began teaching U.S. and world history in 1956 at Glenville High School (Cleveland, Ohio), there were many technological aids that I had available and used often in my five classes each day. Seven years later, when I left Glenville to train returned Peace Corp Volunteers to teach at Cardozo High School in Washington, D.C., I had added a few more items to my technological repertoire. At no time in those years did I ask myself whether they were productive, (i.e., did they get students to learn more, faster, and better?) or efficient  (i.e., did I teach more, faster, and better?). They were available, I tried them out in lessons, and I used them to help me teach the content and skills that I wanted students to learn. Period.

Between 1956-1963, every day I used the blackboard, the textbook, and the ditto machine to make student hand-outs (ah, just…

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