“It is important to remember that
educational software, like textbooks,
is only one tool in the learning process.
Neither can be a substitute for
leadership, and parental involvement.”
– Keith Krueger
It is not rare to read posts and comments from education specialists and professionals stating that new technologies prevent young people from learning the “proper ways!”
I will be honest to say that I used to think the same way until I realized that progress is an unstoppable process, call it evolution or call it necessity, it remains a process that is self-generated by the constant needs of humans to attain a better feeling of comfort, richness and satisfaction.
I think also it is very normal and at a certain limit healthy to adopt a cautious attitude facing the fast pace of all of the new technologies that are produced and offered to consumers. Such technologies need a purpose to get acquired, so market strategists will take all measures to promote and sell their products, which is a fair thing to do.
Where I have a problem with, is when such strategies involve domains where young consumers are involved, and more precisely when young learners are involved! These strategists, I would say “use” the experts in educations to promote the benefits of these new technologies to the point it becomes a promotion pushed from within to within the circle of education. I know many people would disagree with me on the image I am drawing, yet it remains very clear that the best advocates to the manufacturer products are the educational “experts” promoting such tablet instead of another, a smart board or any other products that is sold to educational institutions! It became a matter of territories that manufacturer are “gaining” and “splitting” the pie among themselves.
We need to stop complaining that “things aren’t as they used to be” or “children are losing the ability to read or write because of the new intoxicating technologies” and much more of these complains, that do not – to my own opinion – serve the real cause. What matters for educational specialists is to keep the essential focus on the real challenges: the wellbeing of our students, with or without technologies they Do matter first!
I would use the same strategies marketers use to promote their own business and sell their products, in order to “sell” to the students the right things of education through what may motivate and get their engagement to learn. Of course the proof of concept – as I previously tried to experiment with learners of all ages with some basic non-technological components is what will also provide the real strategy (I’d like to call it the renewed pedagogy) using smart boards, tablets, and much more to feed the purpose of pedagogy and not invent a “new pedagogy” that better suits technologies! That – at least for me – is all what it is about, in which way we drive the learning process!
It is time we change our model of education and start looking at the base before any further action. What do students need and how do they need to learn. I think also it is the most beneficial occasion to start such change, the bottom to top education. People (students) need to be consulted, heard and given the opportunity to express themselves about how they need to learn. As long as we will “think” of education as a top bottom process, the issues and constrains will come back each time a new technology will exist. The top bottom approach was not prepared to use technologies that allow users and learners to contribute. The actual approach has two levels of people: the teacher and the receivers. As I will endlessly advocate, knowledge has no limit, no specific tool, and no specific technology. Knowledge is what happens between a person and another person, how do we let it reach learners? Well I guess the choices are many and limitless!
Michel – December 15, 2014
Image Courtesy: Technologies inside and outside the classroom (Blog)