“Schools MUST Embrace Technology”

December 13, 2011


It’s a known fact that our generation is becoming increasingly dependent on technology.  Let’s be very real – we probably wouldn’t even know where to start if we were forced to live without it.  But let’s switch that around: what if we were forced to live with it?  That’s what the UK has decided is a good idea.

Of course, technology is essential to our education now as college students, and has played a big role all the way through middle and high school.  It was neverforced, but it was always present.  We were usually given an alternative should we not have the equipment to fulfill an assignment (such as, in lecture, being able to text our answers instead of using a laptop, although I realize this is still using technology).  However, the UK seems to disapprove of this manner of teaching.  The Europeans are now moving to incorporate technology into all education levels to a degree where every single student uses some form of laptop, or other high-end devices.  New grants and scholarships are being created to promote every child possessing some electronic that the school deems necessary, and, among many other things, new programs are being developed to ensure that every home has internet access – since, according to one manager of these new investments, “The worst thing you can do is give a child a computer without access to the internet.”  Additionally, 98% of teachers who responded to a survey voted that technology is critical to preparing students for the workforce.

Gotta start 'em early

The UK plans to move from what they consider “19th-century teaching” to a new era in which technology forms the basis of education.

Although this might come with a few perks, these new plans have simply gone much, much too far.  Already, kindergarden students have been added into the equation, having been given a new software for story telling activities to try out, and offered what I’m assuming were very illiterate suggestions about it to scientists via Skype.  Skype. Since apparently these researchers couldn’t just walk to the class by themselves.  Not only this, but systems such as Wii and GPS devices may find themselves as new additions into the classroom as well.

My first question is: what?

My second is: why?

I can already feel the ghost of Socrates flying over to Europe right now in an angry rage.

What do you crazy Europeans think you're doing?

What do you crazy Europeans think you're doing??

Don’t you think?  Socrates believed in such a different form of teaching – learning about life, about yourself, about right and wrong, good and bad.  But education has moved so far from that, to being focused on what can make a student succeed in a business world the fastest.  Never would Socrates have considered a system, where a day of education as a sixth grader meant spending it creating your own video game, as a system of learning.  To me, this quote from one professor says it all: “Turned off devices equals turns off students.”  Oh no, not turned off minds, turned off discussions, turned off teachers… nope.  Turned off cell phones and laptops.  Sadly, students have already lost the meaning of what an education is.  But with attitudes like this of the people who are supposed to be leading their education, it’s easy to see why.

On a side note, Socrates also believed that experts are best suited to be teaching students……So who remembers that one 80 year old teacher who could engage in one of the hottest discussions about the battle of morals during the Cold War, but who spent the first half an  hour of class figuring out how to run his slideshow?

I do.

Forcing students to interact with this new equipment will force teachers to do so as well, which strays much beyond what their purpose is.

So what do you guys think?  Is this a good move to incorporate what is already such a large part of our lives, into our school systems as well?  Or is it a bad thing that “teach” has turned from “teach the students to think” to “teach the students to use a laptop”?





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9 Comments on ““Schools MUST Embrace Technology””

  1. jkb34383 Says:

    Despite the fact that there has been an obvious rise in electronics being used in school systems, the requirements of what you are supposed to learn have not changed. The involvement of technology in the educational world is for the purpose of making learning more efficient.

    Also, by teaching young students how to use high end electronics, you are giving them a head start on our exponentially increasing technological potential. If anything I see this as a benefit rather than a drawback.

  2. thelenj1 Says:

    I think the incorporation of technology in schools has both positive and negative affects. Having technology so close gives students gives them endless amounts of information right at their finger tips. With such resources the extent of each individuals’ education can be increasingly expanded. The limits on what can be taught are virtually banished. Students are able to explore and see things that before they were only able to hear about. At the same time I think knowledge severely hurts critical thinking skills. Students no longer have to try and figure out how to solve problems by themselves. Simple math has becoming increasingly difficult for students because all they know how to do is type numbers into calculators. Technology has made the human population enormously more lazy, but the whole purpose of technology is to simplify our lives, so does that make it okay? And how can something that can help us so much, hurt us so badly at the same time? I do not know if increased technology for the students is good or bad. The answer depends on how it is utilized.

  3. tyhughes2014 Says:

    I do not think you can argue that it is either a good or a bad thing. Change is change and there are always going to be advantages and disadvantages with change. Education has not been driving technology to keep up rather technology has been forcing the education system to keep up. There are many reasons why technology has taken off like it has and why it is such an integral part of everyday life. Technology can be accredited to doing many great things in this world, and it only seems logical that the education start adopting some of this technology if they are going to keep up with the times.

    Socrates believed in a way of teaching that was appropriate for the times. It is hard to say if Socrates would have embraced modern technology considering no such things were around at the time. Teaching ultimately has not changed rather the change has occurred in the matter of how we learn. Schools are adopting new methods in which information is issued to students. Students are still acquiring the same information, rather just in a different format or through a different medium. Considering how crucial technology is in the workplace and everyday life in today’s world, the extra technology in the classroom is likely more adequately preparing students for the real world.

    Think about how the education system would look if educators adopted a Socrates style of teaching. I’m quite confident that the students coming out of those classes would be much less prepared in today’s world than the students coming out of classes that incorporate technology. Students are being taught how to both think and how to use a laptop.

    I bet if Socrates could have got his hands on an iPad, he would have been all for it.

  4. zekeharris Says:

    It should definitely be tested in the field before any major jumps are made but they have obviously gone past this and put it into full effect. I guess technology is already starting to influence children more and more as the years go on and more children specific games and toy computers are on the market it was just a matter of time. Im sure we have all seen how quickly children are able to pick on things such as an iphone once they have it in there hands. Technology has gotten so close to home I think they might as well just use it in a beneficial way. They’re going to learn how to play angry birds before they learn math anyways why not just take advantage of the opportunity. There could be many negatives that come of this but obviously they feel the good out way the bad in this case.

  5. akmcoy Says:

    I don’t think the increase in technology has changed the core values of education (at least in recent history). You brought up how Socrates believed in learning about life, yourself, right and wrong, good and bad… I don’t think it’s the increase in technology that has changed that. I understand what you’re saying but I think that those values evolved over time, and that technology didn’t expedite them in any way.

    My mom is a second grade teacher at a small private school where they have started implementing the use of iPads and SmartBoards in the classrooms. At first, I thought this was utterly ridiculous, pointless, and a total waste of money. It still might be. However, technology is becoming an everyday necessity for our society whether we like it or not, and it can actually help a lot in teaching. The amount of applications, software, and games that can actually teach necessary traits to students is surprising. In a world where technology is the best way to grab someones attention, why not teach kids how to count and read with it? I think rather than just letting technology perform extraneous tasks or waste our time, it can be beneficial for us to develop it so that we can learn from it and with it. I had the same reaction when I thought about the increase in technology in teaching, however once I took time to see its benefits and uses in the classroom, I quickly changed my mind.

  6. ceabee Says:

    I think it is a good move to incorporate such technology into our school systems. I think the use of such technology has made education today much more interactive. Students are now available to access resources and information taught in class from the comforts of their own home, or wherever they may be with access to the internet. Since I have become so reliant on my laptop, cellphone, and the internet, i can’t imagine going to school without access to such materials. In my opinion, such technology has made it easier to do well in school. I can’t imagine actually having to use a dictionary to look up a word, or heaven forbid, having to write out all the notes I take in lecture. Such technology has made it much easier to contact professors and GSIs with questions and concerns and to receive answers in a timely fashion.

  7. asgersh Says:

    As the world and how work is done changes education must change to actually teach people what is relevant. By not teaching people from a young age how to use electronics it is putting them at an extreme disadvantage. In my opinion the use of electronics in the classroom can be very beneficial. Also with records and information all being available electronically work has become much more efficient and often a student is able to find out where he or she stands in a class in just a few clicks.
    I do think though, that teachers need to be careful in how they use electronics. It is easy for a teacher to get carried away with the use of electronics and have it take away from their teaching or even eliminate the work they used to be required to do. I think a teacher finding this balance is essential to how successful teaching is in the future. There is no doubt that electronics can enhance the learning experience, but teachers need to remember it is still there job to teach and to strive to get the creativity out of every student.

  8. Michael Zanger Says:

    I was walking the stairs of Angell the other day thinking of how much lighter my backpack would be without my laptop and ipad and phone and charger and ipod and …………. Technology is the anti-christ. And it hurts my back.

    I’ve noticed that, as college students, we use much more technology than most professionals. I was talking to my partner about applications for the iPad and certain programs that have made my life easier. As a lawyer, he is using maybe a small fraction of programs similar to what we’re using. The BAR association actually bans some types of technology from being used to protect individuals from information leaks and such. For example, storing a brief on an online server is, apparently, not approved by the BAR association. But recently, the BAR has become more lenient, yet still restricting and approving only certain servers over others.

  9. Karsten Smolinski Says:

    I think that incorporating technology into teaching is a great idea. If its used so much throughout the rest of our daily lives then why wouldn’t we incorporate it much more into our education system? Technology is an integral part of our lives and it only makes sense to educate people further in it so that they can utilize it to its full potential. I think that what Great Britain is doing, creating all these programs so that all of the people in the country have equal access to a tool as powerful as the internet, is a great thing.
    I definitely disagree with the creator of this blog on what Socrates’ reaction to this situation would be. I think Socrates would praise Great Britain’s decision. Socrates said that the greatest good was to everyday strive to find the truth. I cannot think of something with more to teach than the internet. Whenever I come across something I don’t know or don’t understand, oftentimes all I have to do is look the answer up on the internet.
    The internet also provides a huge level of worldwide connectivity. On the internet I can find arguments that support every point of view, a great aid when making judgements about my own beliefs.
    Finally, like Socrates said, the best people to learn from are experts. With the internet, I can watch speeches being made by the smartest people in the world right on youtube. For one of my blogposts, I attached a video that shows a a great speech by a famous American sociologist. If it weren’t for the internet I probably never would have seen it. I say again, the internet is one of the world’s greatest learning tools.

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