Journal Response #2greenspun.com : LUSENET : MEd Cohort III : One Thread
Education is entering into a new technological frontier. Teachers, Administrators, and students are becoming pioneers of new technological equipment. This technological adventure takes the form of computers, Internet, media centers, etc., and is transforming education. The implementation of technology is a controversial subject, many educators feel that technology is over emphasized as a tool to "save" education. Possibly, the answer lies in moderation. Recently, the Phi Delta Kappan published the work of Matthew M. Maurer and George Davidson. The article entitled "Technology, Children, And The Power Of The Heart addressed this controversial subject by stating that "technology is a tool to efficiently enhance education." Introducing technology into a school district ignites a host of problems. According to Maurer and Davidson, "a typical approach is to prepare the teachers first and then let the teachers train the students." Unfortunately, this strategy is often slow and unreliable. Many educators today find themselves ill equipped to handle new software and lack basic computer skills. This factor can often hinder a teacher's excitement about utilizing a computer in the classroom. We find technology promoted in mainstream media as a tool that will "save" public education by enhancing and engaging students in the process of learning. However, this can not occur until teachers feel comfortable with using computers. Often times computers are brought into a classroom or an expensive computer lab is built but not used. Teachers can often become a roadblock in this process of implementing technology. Is there an answer to this problem? According to Maruer and Davidson preparing the teachers first creates problems because "by the time the teachers have learned about a new technology, what they know may now be obsolete. Also, some teachers may never have the willingness, skill, or confidence to transfer their learning to their students." Both authors state that confidence seems to be the primary asset teachers need to introduce technology. Educators are continually striving to improve learning and teaching skills. An important question addressed by Maurer and Davidson, "How, specifically, can the power of technology improve education?" According to the authors, "Technology adds the power of efficiency. It is more efficient for children to write with a word processor than without one. There is power in having expanded access to information and a wider selection of data." I think a pertinent point is overlooked in this analyses. Why does technology make education more efficient? Both authors have assumed that efficiency will improve learning, but sometimes learning takes place in an inefficient manner. It may be "more efficient for children to write with a word processor" but can the students efficiently write their names. In addition to this, I question the validity of Internet information and wonder why scholars assume that the Internet will inadvertently "make" a student excited to learn. Teachers are agents that help fuel the fire to learn. I believe Maurer and Davidson have been lured by the technology bug and assume efficiency will promote higher learning. It is my personal opinion that moderation is the key to introducing technology. If educators "hop" onto the technology band wagon, they should do so with moderation. As educators, we should not overlook the importance of reading and writing skills, because these skills are needed before a student can log on to the Internet. Subsequently, technology is a skill that all students must become aquatinted with, especially computers. However, computers should not take the place of promoting reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. Computers should be used as a tool to enhance learning, not to promote efficiency.
-- Anonymous, February 15, 1999
I agree with Catherine. If we could expect everyone to be at a moderate and computer literate level, then we may have a better chance to encourage everyone in the building to pursue higher skills at their own pace. Some people enjoy sitting down at a computer and finding out information, some people prefer going to a library and looking up their information. Everyone is different for their uses of the computer, we just need to get everyone at the simplest level and feel comfortable with it. This may be easier said than done. We are a very quick fix society, and when a new program or computer comes out we have to always keep updating ourselves. It would seem if we could slow down somewhat we would be much better off.
-- Anonymous, March 14, 1999