With rapid evolution of technology, human lives including education have been impacted by it much more now than ever before. Back in the day nature would assist mothers to feed their reluctant one year olds. However, it is a whole new ball game now in these technological lives. It seems babies only eat if You Tube or Pandora is played. Before, elementary school kids wanted a bicycle or a plastic baseball slug but now they insist that they need an iPad. So, the intermingling of technology and education gave rise to a debate among educational and child experts whether use of technology is enhancing school education or undermining it. Research in America found a lot of yeas but few strong nays too.
Researchers at two recent conferences: last week at SXSWedu as well as at the American Council on Education claimed, adaptive learning and massive open online courses have benefited students especially at the high school level. Because, students now are experiencing more brain stimulation outside of their school life than say a decade ago. Many in favor of technology in school education claim, technology is a must to keep students involved and focused in the classroom. Lack of technology in classes leads to boredom they say, students does not get enough challenges mentally that they experience outside the classroom.
Teachers says use of technology in the classroom enhances the learning experience, as monotonous subjects can be taught more interestingly and students can benefit from virtual learning tools. Technology in classroom prepare students for the 21st century technological future. President Obama is focused on measures that would provide internet connections to all the local schools. So, what do the young innovators of ed tech says?
Breanne Hull, Co-founder of Educlone says “As a former teacher and ed-tech entrepreneur, my thoughts are that technology can be a great tool to enhance learning and reach different learning modalities. I also think it’s important to include it in education due to its ubiquity in the industrialized world as a whole. I do, however, think we need to be careful to realize that technology itself can never replace a human connection between a teacher and a student, and I believe that a profound student/teacher connection trumps just about anything else in the world as far as student success is concerned. So, should we include technology in education? Of course! Should we replace the traditional class room experience? Heck no.”
There are a small but, strong voices against technology in education. Few valid criticisms of this change are: It will diminish student’s analytic and language abilities. There are strong cases that students tend to use a calculator to solve two plus two and do not know the spelling of there because auto correct has always assisted them. The nay saying people are also worried students tend to focus more on power point presentation style than focusing on the subject content. They also say using search engines to research a subject in class can easily lead to distractions such as games and videos.
In the award-winning book Kith the Riddle of the Childscape, the author Jay Griffiths explains, her research showed that technology usage in schools had varied results depending on the social cultures. She claims, students in less technological cultures are happier in general. Apple Pioneer Steve Jobs famously said, technology can not have the power to cover up the flaws that education system has innately got. Educationalists have to solve those problems.
Just like the renaissance, this is a technology century and use of it in education is inevitable but, it is necessary to draw a fine line.
Opinion By Vikas Vemuri