Technology in Education — Does It Work?

In keeping with Eduflack’s ongoing discussion of technology in the classroom, following is a guest post from Kelly Kilpatrick.

Schools
and colleges have undergone a sea of change from the days when I was a regular
at both. And lest you think that I’m as old as Methuselah, let me stress that I
graduated just a couple of years ago, which means that there’s been a rapid
change in a short span of time. Technology and the way it’s being leveraged in
schools is a major debating point with both pundits and laymen alike – neither
is sure if it’s a boon or a bane in the classroom. 

Take
the controversy surrounding the introduction of laptops for every child in
school – some condemned this move arguing that it would distract children from
their lessons, that they would be immersed in the world of video games and the
Internet and forget what they were in school for; others claimed that by
denying children this opportunity to explore and learn for themselves, without relying
too much on teachers and facilitators, we are setting them back in their
academic pursuit.

The
thing with technology is that it works wonders as long as the child is
interested in learning and is not easily distracted by other pastimes. Some
argue that interest is born when technology is involved, that when there are
more interesting aspects to school than just books and teachers, kids show a
keenness for learning that was never there before. But is it interest in the
technology itself or an interest for the subject that the technology allows
access to? Can we make this distinction to the advantage of the child?

Another
question that crops up with relevance to education and technology is – Does
reliance on technology make us more stupid in the long run? With the advent of
calculators, we’ve forgotten how to do mental mathematics; with the
introduction of mobile phones and storage memories, we’ve forgotten how to
remember and recollect phone numbers; and with the advent of social networking,
we’re all hiding behind screen personas that we work so hard creating that
we’ve forgotten who we really are.

What
then, does this mean for the future of technology? Are we to eschew it
altogether simply because it makes our brains lazy and prevents us from
thinking for ourselves? Or should we say to hell with the consequences and let
the march of the machines continue unchecked into every aspect of our daily
lives? The truth is, we’re not forced to choose either extreme – there’s a
middle ground that’s totally acceptable with the way things are today.

Technology
must be used as an aid to education and nothing more – the trick lies in
knowing where to draw the line between using it as an application and as an
addiction. And when students are able to make this distinction for themselves,
only then will technology truly contribute to our learning experience. 




(This
post was contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of an
online university. It represents Kelly’s opinions, and she invites
your feedback at kellykilpatrick24@gmail.com.)


5 thoughts on “Technology in Education — Does It Work?

  1. The problem with tech in the classroom today, is that there is not much of value to run on it. If you just throw it out there, it’s like TV with no programming, or the internet with no content. We haven’t figured out how to create a non-linear delivery model in education, where small input changes create disproportionate outputs. We’re locked in by an ancient, flat infrastructure. The people who could create more value are locked in to teaching every day and don’t have the bandwidth to create the content.I’d like to see captivating content delivered by celebrities and developed by experts. With that, the tech makes sense. Without it, and especially in the hands of folks not trained in how to use it, the tech is a curiosity destined for the dustbin.

  2. Bravo! Technology is so embedded in our culture and so much a part of the youth subculture, that it is essential that educators utilize it to not only enhance instruction, but as a vehicle to invite kids to learn and be motivated to learn. As you state, the key is balance-using technology as a teaching tool while being cautious of over reliance or addiction.Dr. Michael OsitAuthor/Generation Text: Raising Well Adjusted Kids In An Age Of Instant Everything

  3. What a nice post! We all know the advantage of technology with regards to education, but we cannot deny that many people didn’t know how to use it properly. That’s why we are not able to see the real essence why technology is made of.

  4. Thanks for the nice blog. It was very useful for me. Yes I do believe that technology will be a big help in education. It is a great advantage upon improving through the effectiveness in communication. Keep sharing such ideas in the future as well. This was actually what I was looking for, and I am glad to came here!

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