Monday, May 21, 2012

Education and Technology

I think this post is just about right:
But a classroom without clickers, or without a smartboard, isn’t going to be inherently inferior to one loaded with all the latest gadgets, because it’s not the gadgets that do the teaching: it’s the teacher.  And the teacher should use whatever technology he or she thinks will improve what he or she is up to vis-a-vis the students — no more, and no less.  Whether a piece of technology will be useful and fruitful is primarily a question of how a particular bit of technology relates to that teacher’s methods, personality, and style...

I would love to listen to a lecture by Aristotle, or Avicenna, or Anselm, or even Neitzsche.  But it would be stupid for me to require that they use Powerpoint.
It's not the technology, it's what the teacher does with it.


Ellen K said...

Garbage in, garbage out.
That's the message I've been trying to get my administration to hear for a year now. Too many administrators, especially those who come to education from outside the business, do not understand that children cannot be programmed. The conventional wisdom is that the districts can set up a program, an adult facilitator can make sure kids are on task, and the children magically learn. With BYOT what I have learned is that this generation is not nearly as technologically savvy as pop media would have us believe. They can text, they can email, they can take photos. The rich learning environment touted by the advocates of technology over all is nowhere near reality.

MasonPiper said...

Ellen nailed it, if it is not Google or Youtube, a great percentage of students have no idea about how computers and the net work. Since a Business curriculum will not fill a contract, I teach computer literacy. I am constantly told by the people I know around town, that “with this generation’s knowledge of tech you shouldn’t be wasting money teaching that kind of class”. My first semester teaching complit was a disaster, I assumed that kids would know how to safe a file to a USB drive or any other drive, I assumed they could troubleshoot basics like, is the computer or monitor plugged in?. I had to adjust everything and start with a lesson on parts of the computer, and even things like passwords and usernames. I use Edmodo and Symbaloo extensively in class and I spend 2 weeks going over those and 3 other services. I have set most of my curriculum in modules so that kids that do know tech can move on and I have money to pay for some students to get Adobe and Microsoft certifications, but only 3-4 students in each class can reach that, everybody else is plodding along still trying to upload the work to Edmodo and save to their H drive. I now know why a kid with decent communication skills, a knowledge of technology and a desire to work can make a decent wage as tech support.