Monday, September 05, 2011

Technology in the Classroom

It can serve some useful purposes, but more often than not it's an expensive toy with unproven educational value. I've said this for years, and Joanne has another post on the subject, chock full of links and information. On commenter on her post hit the nail on the head:
The computer, ipad, etc. are tools. Just look how much using the calculator has improved kids math skills…NOT.


mrelliott said...

Students already have the best education tool with them, and its free! Their brains!! But kids today aren't expected to use them.

It's not how, what, or where that makes learning happen. It's when the student makes the decision to plug in and learn something. Let's stop the acrobatics, the high-wire acts, and all the money it takes to do all this fancy, shmancy stuff, and start expecting kids to use their noggins!

allen (in Michigan) said...

In view of the fact that technology in general and computers in particular have utterly transformed every area of human endeavour to which they've been applied except education I think the question ought to be why public education has proven so resistant to any technological enhancements.

Darren said...

It's not "public" education that's resistant to technological enhancements. We go hog wild over technology. It's "education" that doesn't need too many bells and whistles; the human brain hasn't changed in millenia. Other fields have been transformed by technology, but those other fields aren't using the technology to teach.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Public education's the dominant entity in the field of K-12 education and it's a government monopoly that compels attendance. Of course public education's resistant to technology. Has there ever been a monopolistic entity that welcomed innovations that threatened its monopoly? Or innovations of any kind that weren't first carefully vetted for any threats?

If it doesn't do anything to advance the all-important task of expanding budgets then it's of no interest and since technology makes its impact by reducing headcount, and in education there's a one-to-one correspondence between budget and headcount, who the heck needs technology? Of course once technology's got a nice, fat grant attached to it the clouds roll away and Mr. Frown is replaced by Mr. Smile, welcoming that relatively useless computer lab into the family. When the grant runs out? C'est la vie.

Oh, and as to the reason for technology's lack of utility, I think a slightly more compelling case ought to be offered then putting the word "teach" in italics. Teaching's hardly so rarified a pursuit as to be beyond enhancement by technology. The essential humanness of teaching will, though, make it an inherently uncomfortable fit in the highly-bureaucratized environment of an agency of government. Which it is.