Belated Start to Thinking About Technology

Greg Whitby, claims that the focus on technology is a “waste of time”. He says: “If you focus on the technology, you ignore the central problem and the central issue.” What do you think he means by this, and to what extent do you agree? Why do you think we focus on the technology?

Greg is suggesting that the focus shouldn’t be on technology, but on the quality and style of teaching instead. He prioritises creative, flexible teachers using the same technology in relevant ways over using new gadgets. I agree that educators who understand and implement technology effectively in the classroom are far more important than the technology itself.

We focus on technology for the ‘wow’ factor. The new 3D cube search engine, mentioned later in the podcast, sounds fun and interactive. However, it doesn’t sound like it offers much to learning beyond what you’d achieve on more flexible devices like an ipad or laptop.

Saettler (1990) said “Computer information systems are not just objective recording devices. They also reflect concepts, hopes, beliefs, attitudes” (as cited in Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p.30)

How do you think these “concepts, hopes, beliefs, and attitudes” are reflected in our current approach to educational technology. What do you think our use of technology in schools is saying about what we want for our students and society?

I think one belief that is being reflected more and more is as gaming becomes more mainstream, it has an increasing place in education technology. Part of my student’s homework (Korean ESL) was a series of online games that aided vocabulary memorization. Students tended to spend more time on this aspect of homework than their bookwork (which could be a bad thing).

The flexibility, mobility and creative options of modern devices also reflects changing attitudes and the desire for these attributes in our tools, which Apple and Samsung are very successful at marketing.

I think the use of technology in schools is saying we want our students to be equipped with relevant tools and skills as they enter the workforce, and the ability to adapt to changes. In terms of society itself, school technology promotes equality, information sharing and equal access which is surely something we want in the broader world.

References

Davies, A. (Producer). (2012, August 19) 21st Century Education. Future Tense [Audio Podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/21st-century-education/4197700#transcript

Doering, A., & Roblyer, M. (2014). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching: International Edition, 6th Edition, Pearson.

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