Sunday, August 20, 2006

Technology In Education

People call me a Luddite, but I'm not.

I'm all about the internet and the use of computers. Considering that this post is my 1285th post on this blog, I don't think I can wear the title Luddite very well. A more accurate description for me, at least when it comes to education, is "purist".

Trigonometry doesn't need graphing calculators in order to be taught well. In fact, I assert that requiring students to do the grunt work themselves provides a deeper, "richer" understanding that makes "higher-order thinking" possible. It may even make "lifelong learners"!

OK, enough buzzwords. Put simply, I view technology in the classroom (or anywhere else, for that matter) as a tool, nothing more. It is not an end unto itself, and whenever I see a "technology" strand in some teaching standard (thank God we don't have it in the California math standards) I know that some political button is being pushed somewhere.

All this comes to mind when I read RightWingProf's (see blogroll at left) post about putting multimedia presentations online for college students. It's a very informative read. In it he makes two points that need repeating:

And let's not forget this: If there's no credit attached, students will not do it.


Technology is not pedagogy. Technology is not a substitute for teaching. Technology is merely a tool. Nothing more.

Good thoughts to remember.


Darren said...

Allen, very well thought out. I've long advocated for "distance learning" because there are plenty of people for whom the traditional school model either doesn't work or isn't appropriate. It would be a fantastic and appropriate use of technology.

Your contrasting schools with industry is dead on.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Technology is just a tool. Some folks use it for everything and they have lost their ability to think and problem solve. I do not think it exhibits higher order thinking.

I like distant Learning in moderation. I have had several classes, but personally I require face-to-face instructions. In addition, I like to hear what the other students are saying. I find I personally learn more in a classroom environment.

I have friends and peers that teach distance learning and virtual classes on the Internet. The distant classes meet at least once a week face-to-face and the Virtual classes are spread out a little more.

Some students can handle classroom instructions on line and they are able to keep up, whereas, other students are always putting off the face-to-face meetings, because they have fallen short.

On the other hand I know a young lady who would not go to school and was always skipping school and she was failing. The school contacted her mom and they met with the two of them and the young lady was given the option o finishing school though their distant learning program. She was successful. She graduated on time with her original class.

Also, she went to college graduated with great grades, acquired some wonderful job and she is a mentor to her neighbors' kids and her own kids. So some distant learning programs do have many success stories.

Therefore, I agree that society should offer more choices for student(s) that do not wish to sit in school all day, because I have proof that it does work for some of the students some of the time.

Comments posted by: Bette, December 11, 2006