This afternoon I was sitting on our cottage veranda with my soon-to-be 17-year-old daughter. She has always had strong opinions on education and I thought I would ask her opinion about the use of technology in the classroom. As usual, she had lots to say! Basically she feels that people her age are not as keen on technology as we might think. “it’s not going to make kids like school any better”, she says. “Most of us get all the technology we want at home.”
She had lots more to say but this is a blog not a book so I will try to summarize. Good teaching is what matters and that involves a lot more than the use of the latest and greatest technology. Carefully thought out lesson plans and good organization are factors that she touched on as well as concern for the students’ progress and treating them with respect.
Do I think there is a place for technology in education? Yes, I do. The same as I believe there is a place for textbooks and desks, whiteboards and markers or chalkboard and chalk! They are all just tools and when we pick a tool, we should be thinking of what we want to do with it and how efficient it will be. Will it make our lives easier or just add stress? Will it get the job done? Will it foster student learning? Will it cost us so much in time that perhaps other aspects of our job get short-changed; like student-instructor interaction for instance.
I have certainly come a long way in my comfort level with the use of technology in the last few years. Even this time last year, I’m sure I could not have handled ED366. But I came into the course ready for the challenge and I did all right. I gained knowledge of new tools and some of them I will continue to use. But the best part of the whole class was the camaraderie; learning from each other and supporting each other. The human interaction in other words. And from reading other peoples’ blogs, others seem to feel the same way. So, I say choose your technology carefully and remember that those are human beings in front of you, even the ones you may only have contact with through a computer screen!