Monday, September 2, 2013

(empo-tuulwey) Technology is NOT the "Superman" that the education sector has been waiting for

Ken Yeung has written a piece entitled Is technology the ‘Superman’ that the education sector has been waiting for? The answer is a qualified "no," but I'm even uncomfortable with Yeung's qualification, found at the end of the post.

Now, some of you might be reading this thinking that I’m claiming that technology is the end all be all cure for all that ails the education world. This is not what I’m saying — it is part of the solution.

I'm fine with that, but I'm not fine with Yeung's final sentence:

So while the physical classroom may be going through some seemingly never-ending turmoil, perhaps technology can offer a helping hand and be that one party that actually thinks about the children.

Why am I not fine with Yeung's concluding statement? I left a comment on Larry Rosenthal's share of the original post. Here's what I wrote in that comment (with the Google+ link to the Reed College page converted to a hyperlink).

A tool is not a way of life.

The failure of all of these endeavors is that they conceive of technology as the solution. Even with the author's caveats, the author still looks at technology as "that one party that actually thinks about the children."

Technology does not think.

One of the biggest lessons that I derived from my undergraduate education at +Reed College was a devotion to original sources. In its introductory Humanities courses, the college makes a point of having students read the original works of Greek and medieval authors. (I'll grant the point that we read them in translation, not in the original languages.)

Something like that - an approach to educating oneself - is much more important in the long run than figuring out an education delivery mechanism, or a testing mechanism, or proclaiming that learning is student-directed. It's one thing to have a high-resolution tablet that lets you read the latest tech publication - it's another thing entirely to know what to do when the latest tech publication appears on your screen.

(One example: when "Monday Matters" mentioned the Paul Graham accent issue, it was something that I hadn't heard of before. Now I could have just ended my inquiry by seeing what "Monday Matters" said about it, or I could have used wonderful search tools to see what CNET and Mashable and the Huffington Post said about it. However, I figured that the best thing to do would be to see what Paul Graham himself said about it. That took a bit more effort, since "technology" is designed to provide the source with the highest SEO, rather than the original source.)

And that ends the original comment.

Incidentally, if you haven't seen my comments on Paul Graham, they can be found here.
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