Industrial and domestic arts skills enable self-satisfaction in handling adult reality. However, industrial and domestic arts are expensive curricula, and our school system gave them up completely in middle schools and partially in the high school in the 1980's to cope with budget cut-backs. I believe they must be restored.
In fact I would argue such curricula are more important than today's `education technology' for middle schools. Industrial and domestic arts skills are a foundation for understanding higher technology.
However, I am an advocate of the use of technology in education. My sole sure justification is that it is and will be in EVERY workplace our children will experience in their life. Technology tools in the workplace are changing so fast that even in a student's four years of high school major changes occur. We are at an historic point in time as significant as the invention of the printing press or the industrial revolution. Only it is happening in a fraction of a person's lifetime rather than evolving across several generations. I don't think the workplace world gives us a choice but to invest in technology education infrastructure.
With that said, there is no credible education research that shows technology will boost student achievement in general. It may only demand more effort from all. There are no proven curricula to buy for computer instruction. There are no proven teaching methods using today's technology. Teachers are scrambling or are frightened to learn today's technology, or in some case, thoughtfully opposed to computer technology for education. The cost of technology education infrastructure (at the level common in the workplace) is expensive on a scale similar to whole new buildings, but it changes far faster than we replace buildings.
Therefore, educators and taxpayers are making choices in very unfamiliar times. We need constructive attitudes and efforts. We need very keen decision makers to optimize choices for our dollars. The current view in the workplace is that the grass roots worker is the best decision maker. But as many workplaces find, the grass roots worker isn't prepared for the new role. Educators are having the same difficulty. We need investments from organizations not usually familiar to (and welcomed by) schools. My belief is that the last thing we need is to spend effort struggling with the same budget and attitude issues we have been caught up with for two to three decades now. If we actually sweat together on a task for a while we may just come to respect and trust each other.