Hello again everyone!
Just a quick refresher, our first debate topic in week 1 was
“Does technology in the classroom enhance student learning?”
We pre-voted and post-voted and in both instances, the consensus was that indeed technology does enhance student learning – I will admit, I was and still remain on the same side. However, can I say the hugest congratulations to both sides of this debate! Arguing that technology DOES NOT enhance student learning in a technology based class is not easy and there were valid, educated and relevant points made on both sides. If you didn’t get a chance to, or aren’t in our class and want to peek the opening statements for both sides please check out the links below!
I want to start by bringing attention to the fact that both sides made it VERY clear that regardless of how much or how little technology we have available in the classroom, without the direct support and guidance of the teacher, there will be no opportunity to enhance learning or deepen learning for our students. Teachers play an integral part of ensuring that technology is used properly and safely for students. It was really refreshing to hear both parties agreeing on the fact that we are and will continue to be needed in the classroom. Technology (at least for now! 😉 ) does not, regardless of how valuable it is, create the rapport and relationship that is offered by the teacher.
I would like to tackle the wonderful points that the disagree group made that were close to swaying me. They posted this article by Timothy Smithee that outlined 4 substantial negative effects that technology could have in the classroom. I was really surprised because many of these I hadn’t considered. The first one that stuck with me was the idea that technology is not being used effectively in the classroom and therefore not enhancing learning. In a lot of circumstances, I really can’t disagree with that. There are teachers who are resistant to learning the ins and outs of new programs and devices and therefore are not doing them justice if they are being used at all. This in no way shape or form enhances learning, it just wastes time. The second and third points they made which in my opinion are closely related is the immense cost of technology and therefore when purchasing it, there is potential to divert resources from other areas. I get it – in order to use technology in the most effective way, the more you have, the more time each child gets with the device, the more potential for deepening learning rather just substituting. I was big into the arts in high school and I would have been livid to know that money was being funneled from arts programs to fund a computer lab. Granted, technology didn’t have the power it has now – that aside, to promote people’s passions and offer opportunities across the board is very important and was a valid point brought forward by the disagree side. The final point that the disagree team made was the one that I had assumed they would rest on – that technology is a distraction. There are so many opportunities for kids to spend more time fussing with the tech and learning enough about the topic, or just simply getting distracted by the million other things your device can do, other than what you’re supposed to do. My colleague Catherine pointed out that she struggled with distraction from technology through school and had to set strict guidelines for herself in order to get work done… I have to admit, I did the same….but thankfully, now we have the abiltiy to get kids young and start teaching them proper, healthy technology and social media use.
All of these points were well researched, well thought out, and well presented.
Now, on to the agree side. These gals made excellent points to support why they felt technology does in fact enhance learning. One of the main things I appreciated about this group was they openly admitted there were flaws in their argument and they argued their points regardless of them. They proved that even with these downsides, their beliefs would outweigh the cons. The article, “6 Pros & Cons of Technology in the Classroom in 2018” was a great read as I feel like it did the same thing – pointed out flaws but gave suggestion as to why, despite the cons, it’s still a great addition. The agree group pointed out that technology is in fact a tool like any other we would use in school and needs to be treated as such. When suggested that technology be integrated, it’s the same as being able to integrate any other newer tool or program. Another very important point that this group made was that we are using technology as a means to prepare students for the future. Kids are going to need to have a very specialized skill set for jobs moving forward and being digitally literate and competant in technology as well as multi-tasking and group work will be integral. We learned of Ribble’s 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship last term and they are once again relevant as we explore what the future might look like for kids. The agree groups main argument comes in the form of showing exactly how technology deepens learning and engages the students. They said, it improves access so that children who don’t have access 100% of the time at home, can still have a chance to dig through and explore resources online at school. Second, they mention that having chances for technology in the classroom makes it more teacher centered which essentially means that while you’re students are working independently, you can work with small groups who need extra support, etc. Our time is so precious and this is a huge pro. Another point that was brought up was that technology extends the audience that our students can write to, which can inspire purpose! As teachers we are always looking for ways to motivate our kids and showing them that the world is bigger than our classroom walls is a great way to do it.
All of these points were also well researched, well thought out and well presented.
Again, excellent job to both groups. It’s so important to see both sides of an argument so you can informed decisions.
“Educating the mind without educating the heart,
is no education at all.”