Today, I read an article called, “10 Reasons Today’s Students NEED Technology in the Classroom.” The author Danny Mareco, is not an educator but is one of the many technology business owners who in the past 20 years has profited by convincing schools they need technology to become better educators. As an educator I have always found it interesting that non-educators always seem to know more about how to fix the educational system then the professional educator. In truth, today’s system is failing because technology has become a learning outcome. Technology is no more than a tool. I hope Mr. Mareco reads my responses and debates my answers.
- If used correctly, mobile devices and the applications they support, will help prepare students for their future careers.
RESPONSE: More important is teaching students how to solve problems when technology is not available.
2. Integrating technology into the classroom is an effective way to connect with students of all learning styles.
RESPONSE: Not true. Most software applications are no more than electronic worksheets, and they do not connect to the seven learning styles.
3. It gives students the opportunity to enhance the interaction with their classmates and instructors by encouraging collaboration.
RESPONSE: One of the major complaints from STEM industries is that young workers don’t communicate or collaborate because technology forces individualism. Watch a real computer lab. Students are not interacting with one another or allowed to.
4. Using technology in the classroom gives teachers and other faculty members the opportunity to develop their student’s digital citizenship skills. It’s one thing to use mobile devices, it’s a completely other thing to know how to use them correctly and responsibly.
RESPONSE: Digital citizenship skills are simply common respect, courtesy, and good manners. These skills always need to be practiced in the classroom not just when using technical devices.
5. Integrating technology in education helps students stay engaged. Most students today have been using mobile devices like tablets and smartphones to play and learn since they could crawl. So it only seems logical to align today’s classrooms with the way that your students want and are used to learning.
RESPONSE: The fact that television has been around a long time, doesn’t mean that this is necessarily the best medium to engage learners. Television, like many of today’s modern technologies are passive, one directional, with no responses available; and, for those devices that have pre-programmed responses they disable the key ability in asking questions. Show me a device that will take a question and expound deeply on it!
6. Combining new tech like VR (virtual reality) with traditional classroom instruction is one example of how the introduction of new technology can enhance the learning experience and create new opportunities.
RESPONSE: Enhance learning…yes. However, no one really explains exactly what “new opportunities” are. It just sounds good. Do non-educators really understand the learning process? They do understand the process of making a buck.
7. When mobile technology is readily available and performing correctly in the classroom, students are able to access the most up-to-date information quicker and easier than ever before.
RESPONSE: The Internet can be a portal to instant information. However, more important than the information are the sources. Who wrote the information? How was the information formed and developed? Is the information the most current? We need to teach students how to research their information and confirm the sources.
8. The traditional passive learning model is broken. With technology in the classroom the teacher becomes the encourager, adviser, and coach.
RESPONSE: Why is it assumed that all traditional learning is passive. If any, it was interactive. Passive learning is either reading or watching a video. Active learning is where the students ask the questions, research the answers, and make the connections to problems their research can solve.
9. Technology helps students be more responsible. Owning your own device or borrowing the school’s devices gives students the opportunity to improve their decision making skills as well as taking ownership of a valuable (and often times expensive) device. Again, this needs to be complemented by proper digital citizenship training to see the best results.
RESPONSE: So, owning a digital device will improve decision making skills? Showing respect goes back to question 4.
10. Technology transforms the learning experience. Students have access to an incredible amount of new opportunities. From learning, how to code to learning how to better collaborate across teams and with their instructors–technology empowers students to be more creative and be more connected. New tech has super-charged how we learn today.
RESPONSE: Since 1996, the Federal and State governments have invested over $60 billion dollars into Internet and digital infrastructures. In those past 20+ years, the ROI on this return has been reported, by PISA, that the United States is still maintaining an average to below average in reading, mathematics, and science. You would think we would be number one in the world. On the other hand, we are rated average and below average compared to 72 nations tested. The only super-charge, gain, or empowerment has come from industries selling their technology hardware, software, and projects to schools each year. They are the winners, as their profits increase, while our students continue to lose ground for a better future.