Is technology the answer to educational woes?

Who does not love a new piece of technology in their hands? This is true especially when that technology is specifically designed to improve that persons life by simplifying a dreaded task: calculators, word processors, apps, GPS, etc. The question becomes for education, does or will technology improve education and most importantly the learning of students?

I recently read Larry Cuban’s post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/the-technology-mistake-confusing-access-to-information-with-becoming-educated/2012/06/17/gJQAt8PFkV_blog.html

This really got me thinking about technology as a teacher in a 1-1 school, where all students have a laptop computer in their hands every day in every class. As a math teacher, also, I have experienced the calculator revolution: https://rootingformatheducation.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/do-calculators-make-us-smart-or-dumb/

Technology absolutely has the potential to improve learning. However, as Cuban pointed out, technology is often poorly implemented in classrooms. My experience has shown that teachers are less willing to integrate technology into new modes of learning than as tools to do the same “learning” a different way. Schools and districts prefer to use technology as ways around learning in the classroom, with less effective strategies as credit recovery or original coursework learned through self-taught information and video explorations similar to online classes in colleges. These opportunities often are misused, provide too-easy possibilities for cheating, or do not match the learning styles of the students.

My primary question about technology concerns purpose: Are we pushing technology into the classroom because of its effectiveness in improving learning or is it being pushed as a money making opportunity? Next, I wonder why educational technology infusion has not become more standardized nationwide. Are teachers the specific roadblock? Is there so little educational technology support and software that everyone is just standing around waiting for the next big thing? Do students dislike technology as a tool for learning? Should education recruit the Halo team to create a Algebra 2 based video game, for example, featuring conic sections and three-variable systems of equations?

Ultimately, why has technology not been fully integrated into learning like cell phones in society or television into households? What are the specific challenges to merging the worlds of education and technology?

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2 thoughts on “Is technology the answer to educational woes?

  1. Wendy Tahill

    I think there is definitely something to the “money-making” idea you mentioned. Eventually, the pendulum will swing back to the “basics” of teaching because there will be no alternative.
    I do think technology is not something you can ignore. It has to be “dealt” with simply because we are saturated with it, at least in urban areas. Not sure how much technology rural areas have.

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