Technology in the classroom
A society that relies on technology has led to education that relies on it. Whether this is good or not is up for discussion (or an online forum, depending on your preference).
Of course, it’s not as easy as saying, “Technology is good” or, “Technology is bad.” Technology is neither of those. Its value has everything to do with its purpose and role. Understandably, parents want their children to be digitally relevant. And even the most conservative of educators cannot ethically treat technology as the enemy. But the question remains…
How much technology is too much?
At what point do students stop thinking for themselves because a computer thinks for them? And, how will this thinking lapse affect children outside of the classroom?
Research and education officials alike conclude that technology has the greatest impact in the classroom when it is used in addition to teacher instruction, not when it actually replaces the teacher. ~This provokes interesting conversations about online education, which is a conversation for another time.
At Liberty Classical, our students are taught to adapt to a changing digital landscape without giving up analytical thinking. Analytical thought, after all, is a critical component to learning and technology cannot replace it.
Why Johnny can’t add without a calculator
A while back, an article on this issue caught our eye. It brilliantly highlights how the overuse of technology can undermine the development of thought. The article, “Why Johnny Can’t Add without a Calculator,” analyzes real situations in tech-heavy classrooms across the country.
In the article, a science teacher was asked to describe the benefits of technology for students who are problem solving.
Her students are using a computer to learn about circuits. When the circuit is closed, the digitally created bulb on the screen lights up. Her students like this, she says, because it feels like a video game to them.
The article continues…
“But this shortcut is dangerous. Learning how to visualize—as required when an electric circuit is drawn on a blackboard—is vital for developing the ability to think abstractly. You also have to make students manipulate real circuits with real batteries, with real wires that connect them and sometimes break. Showing them a toy circuit in computer software is an unhappy middle ground between these two useful teaching exercises: You neither learn how to trouble-shoot in the real world, nor do you think clearly about how electrons work.”
The resounding argument throughout the piece is that technology, while useful, does not teach. Schools invest valuable resources to implement new technology, when, perhaps, the money would be better spent on improving teacher instruction.
It is just as important for teachers to understand how to incorporate new technology into curriculum as it is to keep up with modern digital advancements.
At Liberty Classical, we argue that it’s more important
Technology is neither good nor bad. But it doesn’t teach. Teachers do that. So the question “How much is too much?” is about much more than limiting tablet time and not using digital books. It’s about understanding the role that technology has. And understanding that analytical, abstract thought and sound reason happen outside of the digital world.
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