I was floored by the debates that were presented today and definitely scared of the work I have to do with my partner, Jocelyn, to prepare for our argument next week. However, I was so glad that Matt and Trevor as well and Amanda and Nancy set the bar high for what the rest of the semester is going to look like for our debates and discussions. Unfortunately, I now have to become an advertising marketer in order to sell my argument….but I can add that to my list of things to do.
My first opinion from reading the debate topic was that I agreed. Technology continues to be a tool that is utilized in schools, perhaps not always effectively or seamlessly, but the benefits outweigh the cons from what I’ve experienced. However, I’m the type of person up for a challenge and looking to enhance my teaching practices and approaches, especially as our classrooms continue to grow in diversity.
Nancy and Amanda had some valid points to their side of the argument; technology allows us to:
- access the 4 C’s of 21st Century Skills (critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creativity +connection)
- engage students and deepen the learning
- create meaning
However, Trevor and Matt did a bang up job of looking at the reverse side of the argument, for which I started to think more about. This included the idea that technology:
- is a distraction in the classroom due to temptations not school related (social media, music, games, YouTube viewing)
- doesn’t mean good pedagogy; “it can make good teachers better but it can make bad ones worse”
- bombards students with screentime which adds to what they already engage with at home
I did appreciate the discussion that was had after the arguments were presented. Kalyn made a valid point that if technology is implemented without a purpose, it makes it worse and is likely not enhancing learning. Curtis reminded us that technology can give students a voice. Jill identified that some students are muted by technology as it is not the same in person connectedness, as well as technology requires troubleshooting when things go awry, such low battery and updating of applications.
As I listened, I jotted down some thoughts (using technology as my penmanship is chicken scratch and cramps my hands these days) that made me more or less sit on the fence with regards to this argument. Technology in the classroom CAN enhance learning when:
- there is a purpose!
- there is consistent usage of specific tools and applications
- all students have access to technology tools that benefit them as a learner for their specific needs
- technology can transfer to different settings in the real world and even beyond educational environments
- students/staff are trained and supported continually as to how to use the technology
- tech issues don’t arise, batteries are fully charged, updates have been made, wifi (when applicable) is accessible and not spotty
Conversely, technology in the classroom DOES NOT enhance learning when:
- it is not a transferable tool outside of the classroom into the real world
- it is used to replace teaching
- it is used to solve behaviours of students
- not all students have access
- it is used for entertainment only
- there is no follow up/feedback/assessment provided to students for their purpose
Thanks again to our first great debate.
What side of the fence do you sit on?