Is technology changing how people learn, or just how we teach?

I read the New Your Times article “Technology Changing How Students Learn, Teachers Say” and noticed several things on which I feel the need to air my opinion.

The biggest complaint I hear is that technology is distracting, that kids text during class and play games on their phones instead of paying attention in class. But students used to pass notes, play games on paper, and whisper to their friends. Is that so different? I think it has always taken a lot to engage teenagers who would usually choose to be anywhere but in a classroom.

As the nation tries to undergo educational reform, away from the so-called factory model, we need to discover what will engage students more. As professional educators it needn’t be a song-and-dance but more of a singalong or group dance. The article is too much “us vs. them” with the research notably being characterized as subjective.

Technology needs to become one tool in a box that we use when we need it, not our adversary. We learned to embrace paper and pencils over slates and chalk and we can do the same with the gadgets our students have in their pockets, gadgets that are far more powerful computing devices than anything teachers had when they were students.


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