Do we claim tech to be a cure all?

Do any of us claim that technology is the cure-all for the education issues in our country? I don’t think anyone in my PLN does. I strive to learn ways that technology can enhance instruction and possibly increase student engagement. I enjoy sharing these resources with teachers and offering suggestions of how they can be used inside and outside the classroom. I’m passionate about it. I enjoy passing on my knowledge via any medium: face-to-face, e-mail, Twitter, Skype, blogging. This is the real-time web and it’s changing the way we teach and learn. The “digital walls” of our classrooms are confining us less and less.

Many teachers I talk to, and more so the ones that initially were resistant to technology, don’t want to go back to their B.T. (before technology) days of teaching. They say, “I can’t imagine not having (insert instructional technology tool here) now that I’ve invested the time to implement its use. Students are more communicative, collaborative, and creative. All around they are engaged more, which leads to increased achievement. It’s great to see teachers embracing 21st century teaching and learning by gaining a strong knowledge of a variety of tools and their purpose. These are tools that meet one or more of the 3Cs. There is no longer one means to an end for students to demonstrate mastery.

Does this mean these teachers have completely ditched all traditional methods of teaching? I highly doubt it.

Is technology a cure all? No. However, I must ask though, when is technology integration is going to be the new “traditional methods of teaching”?

I welcome your comments. Thanks for reading.

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11 Comments on “Do we claim tech to be a cure all?”

  1. Dodie says:

    I wrote similarly about this on my blog post http://vestaltech.edublogs.org/2010/03/08/good-teaching/
    The idea is that ‘good teaching is good teaching’, whether technology is used or not- BUT using technology motivates and engages students so that when tech tools fit the purpose of the lesson it makes total sense to integrate them.

  2. Mary Beth Hertz says:

    Technology is already integrated into the curriculum! When the first overhead projectors were used in the classroom, I’m sure that many teachers who adopted them couldn’t imagine teaching without them. We adapt our teaching methods constantly as new technologies arise (calculators!). I think the difference is that today’s tech has such a steep learning curve that it deters some from trying it.

  3. MissCheska says:

    I do not think that technology is the cure-all, but a supplemental tool that facilitates teaching and learning. For technology integration to become the accepted traditional method, many things have to happen first. A cultural shift must change the pedagogy to best reflect the changing development and demographics of the student population. The community must shift values, putting more emphasis on education. More support, in form of finances and proper teacher training and professional development, is needed. Compound those factors with the innate characteristic of technology to change almost overnight – the rapid and almost elusive pace of new technology makes it doubly hard for education to adapt before its policies and efforts are deemed outdated. I think we are past the point the benefits of effective teacher technology use and integration… we just can’t figure out how best to apply it uniformly in all schools.

  4. ktenkely says:

    Technology is definitely not the “answer” in education. It is not the end all be all. It is a tool that can improve how everything else is done, it can break down barriers that used to exist in the classroom. It can provide students with images, video, and interactives that make learning more efficient and effective. Could we insert technology and let it solve all the problems of education, no.

  5. Kyle Pace says:

    Thanks for your comments. Could the teachers I spoke of in my post still do their job without the technology? Of course they could. They don’t want to give it up. It breaks down barriers, it gives us a window on the world that didn’t exist before. We aren’t restricted to the 4 walls of our classrooms any more.

  6. Jen W says:

    Good article — if I might though, I will just touch on this

    “Is technology a cure all? No. However, I must ask though, when is technology integration is going to be the new “traditional methods of teaching”?”

    Do we have pencil integration or white board integration or even paper integration — No.

    Yet, each of those classroom opportunities did take some time to get main-streamed as a established, used, and non-negotiated option in the classroom.

    What I think is the problem, if I might, is that there is an “us versus them” when it comes to technology uses (not integration sorry, that just irks me). Teachers who are not using the options right now are being labeled in so many derogatory ways…and because of that, are we surprised when they dig their heels in even more and say “nope.”

    I don’t think TECH is the answer for everybody and at times I wonder if it is right for anybody. I believe tech has become a distraction at times for the real issue in classrooms — which is student boredom and teacher fatigue. And the even bigger issue of governmental involvement or non-involvement with educational funding, etc.

    Tech might become a band aid for some or even a badge or medal to wave and say “lookie what I am doing”. But until we get past the surface level of the “WOW” and the need to “integrate” and to continue label them and us…we will just continue to wander in and out of these same discussions.

    Sorry for the vent…..
    Jen

  7. jerridkruse says:

    I really like what you have to say Jen!

    More generally, while we all accept that “tech is not the answer”, our rhetoric makes it sound like it is. When using electronic technology is so prevalent in our educational discourse, the layperson, and even the professional is easily duped (sp?) into thinking tech IS the answer. Instead, our conversations out to revolve around goals for students and how to help students achieve those goals. Technology will be a part of that conversation, but only a part!

    • I agree that education should be student centered. What’s good for one student, may not be for another. A good teacher assists students in identifying and then reaching appropriate goals.
      We have a 95% flexible technology “program”, and therefore, there is no tech curriculum or prescribed lessons. Whenever a parent asks me “Do all of the third graders do (insert tech tool/project, etc. here)?” I tell them that a teacher presents the curriculum to his/her class in manner that meets the needs of that year’s class. If a certain technology method will achieve the desired outcomes then it is used; if not, then a different method is used. Teaching is an art after all. Having good professional development and resources to make those decisions are key.

  8. Dan McGuire says:

    The word educate comes from a Latin phrase that means “bring out from;” it doesn’t mean maintain the status quo or valiantly hang on to the way things were.

    If we’re not leading our students out of the past, we’re not educating them.

    • Greg Foreman says:

      I agree with Dan – I’m afraid too many teachers resist change, not realizing the benefits of technology integration (uses) in their classrooms. I find kids retain MORE information because it can be presented in a strong visual and aural medium, which happens to be entertaining, yet contains substance. This also makes the necessary “drill and practice” actually fun. My students enjoy using technology, since it’s a large part of their normal lives and it creates variety in my instruction, so I enjoy it, too. Technology isn’t a replacement for good instruction, it supports learning and rehearsal of skills (when used effectively).


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