Math is so popular at Ritter Elementary School in Watts that kids arrive before the morning bell and line up to do extra work before class, but it’s not the subject that’s the real attraction as much as the method–computers.
“It’s a lot more fun this way,” said 8-year-old Erica Quezada, fitting colorful cubes into a shape on her screen as another third-grader leans over to point out another way she can solve the problem.
Stand-and-deliver is increasingly giving way to point-and-click in schools across California and elsewhere as computers are being used to supplement, and in some approaches, supplant textbooks and teachers.
Known as “blended learning,” the concept has been particularly embraced by charter and independently run schools as a way to boost student achievement quickly at time when dwindling state dollars are resulting in larger class sizes and fewer programs. But it’s also generated some controversy as critics see it as a ploy to reduce teachers.