I’d say the picture below speaks for itself when it comes to most young educator’s beliefs as it relates to the title of this blog.
The results of the first poll wasn’t surprising for anyone. The class we are in, after all, is not a required class for the majority of us, so we are probably pretty biased as it is. Despite that, there were quite a few points that were brought up throughout the debate that made a case for both sides of the argument. I have to give props to Raeann who was able to stand her ground against what seemed like an easy win for Ashlee early on. Great job to the both of you!
In any case, here was the gist of what I got from each side:
Technology DOES enhance learning:
- Global Collaboration – Using technology, students potentially have access to anyone in the world. If used correctly, students can learn from experts in a particular field about any particular topic.
- Resources – Through the use of technology, students can connect with their teacher and the peers outside of class time. I have personal experience with this aspect as this is the way I learned to use Google Classroom and Seesaw. If students had a quick question, say at 7 pm, instead of waiting until the morning, I could take 20 seconds and make the small adjustment or clarification. Additionally, other class members took time to help out their peers, which was great to see.
- Multimedia – Technology also offers students a way to engage with material on a deeper level. There are, what seems like, an infinite amount of videos of YouTube, there are audio books, podcasts, virtual reality, and more. The possibilities here are endless and watching students use these tools is both entertaining and well worth it. What do I mean? Check out this virtual reality video I used while teaching about animal cells.
- Community – Lastly, through proper platforms, there can be a sense of an online community among the class. Just like I mentioned above, students have the opportunity to help each other and share ideas 24/7.
Technology DOES NOT enhance Learning:
- Distractions – It’s become too easy to click open another tab and navigate to anything else but the task at hand. Students are also very crafty and can make it appear as if they are working hard while effectively doing nothing at all.
- Cheating – If tests or assignments are online, how hard is it to open a google page, find your answer, and, if your bold enough, copy and paste the answer? Spoiler alert: It’s not. In addition to this, students typically have more than one electronic device and can team up, either physically or digitally, to complete their individual work.
- Implementation – Are teachers trained enough to be using technology inside the class? Or maybe all the resources online are becoming the only source of teaching. Why would I explain it when this shiny YouTube video can?
These points were effective in starting a conversation that challenged our bias. Below is the poll from after the debate:
Again, I wasn’t surprised by the results. Katia also pointed out that it becomes easy to poke holes in an argument that’s fully represented at the start.
So, what do I think?
Although I think that the disagreeing side won the debate overall, I think that technology enhances learning. I think that it’s easy to talk circles around people as to how students will misuse and abuse the tools you give them. Though, I’d argue that those same students will take any opportunity to not do their work, technology or not. I also think that the positives vastly outweigh the negatives and hold much more weight. The biggest benefit to me being that my students and I can create an online community to collaborate, differentiate, explore, and grow together. Additionally, I also believe that technology will only become a bigger part in our lives. Like or not, technology is becoming more and more accessible, which mean that schools will be able to have more of it around.
Technology is the way of the future, you might as well get used to it.
Thanks for reading,