Introductory Concepts

In recent discussions of using technology in classrooms, a controversial issue has been whether or not technology is something that is beneficial for the students in their learning. On one hand, some argue that technology is the one thing that can really help students learn, especially with learning skills on effectively integrating themselves into the 21st Century world. From this perspective, children are already using technology by the time they enter the classroom, and are therefore bored when there is no technology present in the classroom to use as they learn. They find school irrelevant, since they cannot customize the lessons themselves or how they learn. According to this perspective, the only way to combat that boredom is to use technology in everything, and have classes of programming, bioethics, multimedia literacy and creation, etc. All of of these subjects would be a “representative of alternative visions of the future”. So, they want schools to be “future oriented” and instead of using past methods of learning, schools should just simply look towards the future.

On the other hand, some argue that although technology is a positive and beneficial thing for the classroom, sometimes it can be abused; therefore the best technology can sometimes just be a pencil. According to this view, technology should not be used to do things that can be done without it, such as drawing a picture. One teacher even talks about how when she has her students write something on a blog, she has them first use a pencil and paper to write down what they want to say, so they can work out their ideas right there. Technology should also not be used as a way to keep students occupied while the teacher helps small groups of kids or does something else. With this thought process, technology should be something that the teacher has the students use for creative purposes, but should be something that the teacher carefully structures and selects for the students.

In sum then, the issue is whether technology should be used for every method of learning, or if it should be balanced with old methods. My own view is that technology is a positive thing, but it needs to be balanced with old methods, like pencil and paper. Though I concede that technology can be a creative tool that I will use, I still maintain that technology cannot be used for everything. For example, there are things like reading and writing that some children may still prefer using a pencil, paper, or a paper book for, and I think that it is important to keep that in mind. Although some might object that this is not “looking towards the future”, I would reply that it is imperative to remember your past in order to go further into the future. It is when we forget the past things that have happened and things that we have done that make living in the future more difficult. This issue is important because as a society we continue to search for things that will improve our lives, and make us the best that we can be. Technology is something that will aide us in these improvements, and as we go along into the future, it will be helpful to remember our past as well.



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