School Sleuth: The Case of the Wired Classroom

School Sleuth: The Case of the Wired Classroom premiered throughout October 2015

About the Program

Our world is increasingly wired to, and driven by, technology. Our homes, our entertainment, cars, hospitals, marketplaces, even our wallets are now technologically “smart,” but how about our children’s classrooms and their teachers? Do students have access to today’s best software and latest systems? Are teachers and schools keeping up, or are they overwhelmed by the choices? Can technology and traditional teaching methods co-exist in a new blended learning environment? This looks like a case for the School Sleuth!

In this program, veteran PBS Newshour Education Correspondent John Merrow – AKA the School Sleuth – is back, determined to get to the bottom of another classroom caper. The Peabody Award winning character, last seen in 2001’s The Case of an Excellent School, is a hard-boiled detective who investigates schools, searching for the best and exposing the worst. This time he’s hired to find out how technology is used — and misused — in education. To solve the case, the Sleuth goes inside schools around the country to uncover what happens when schools get wired.

View photos and read more about the film below.

A Closer Look at School Sleuth

More About the Program

During the course of his investigation, the Sleuth interviews Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy; Susan Patrick, president and CEO of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning; and Richard Culatta, director of the USDOE Office of Educational Technology. He visits “cyber schools,” where over 300,000 kids take all their classes online at home, and he takes viewers inside a school where students spend half their day on the computer. He takes a hard look at Ed-Tech companies looking to strike it rich and examines the grim question of access and the “digital divide.” He joins third graders as they sing songs with children in Uganda over the internet, meets sixth graders who are using video games to design their own civilizations, and talks to seventh graders who are building LED screens and programming computer chips.

However, it’s high school senior California Rios, the first in her family to graduate from high school, who teaches the Sleuth the importance of access: “I need internet to get assignments done, to get projects done, to contact teachers for extra help. It’s a huge part of getting my diploma ... ”

The program exposes the glaring dangers of using technology for the wrong reasons, while showcasing the wondrous things that can happen when teachers find the right blend of learning, teaching and technology.  And along the way, the Sleuth gets surprising advice from Dr. Ruth, Tom Brokaw and Charlie Rose!

The Case of the Wired Classroom is a fun, film noir approach to the serious issue of the technological revolution in our classrooms. It’s big business with billions of dollars at stake and children’s academic futures on the line. Through the lens of the Sleuth, the audience gets an inside look at what’s currently happening in our nation’s school system.


School Sleuth: The Case of the Wired Classroom​
 was produced by Learning Matters, Inc.
Visit the offical School Sleuth website at:


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