Monday, June 25, 2007

Is technology effective?

Through a series of unfortunate events, I stumbled across this good question:

Do educational technologies work?

There's a lot of pressure in education to make teaching flashy. Animate every bullet point on your PowerPoint, create a web page that is aesthetically pleasing, and give students every opportunity to tickle the plastic ivories of a computer keyboard and watch pretty things float across the screen.

But are we using technology in a way that it really helps students to learn better? Are they solving problems? thinking critically? grasping a complex idea? and applying their knowledge to new situations?

There's a guy who did a lot of research many, many years ago about the progressive levels of learning from rote knowledge to critical evaluation--Harold Bloom. Maybe you've heard of him? Anyway, it's easy to get stuck at the bottom.


Blogger United We Lay said...

I think it can be a great way for teacers to incorporate interactive technologies such as the smart board, but for the most part it's just a lot of bells and whistles that people are using to keep students interested. The problem is that we're not focusing so much on education as we are on keeping attention.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I go back and forth. I'm terrible at entertaining, but if I can't keep their attention (or better yet, direct it somewhere else), how am I possibly going to teach them anything?

5:02 PM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

I thnk you probably pay more attention to what you're using than most. I tend to use a lot of TV and movie stuff because it makes what we're talking about relevant to what they see going on in the world around them.

3:56 AM  
Blogger Stormmaster said...

It might help to use technology for educational purposes, especially when it comes to visualizing complex subjects. But I just cannot imagine my then 50+ years old geography teacher using Google earth to show the effect the Gulf Stream has on the climate of Europe.

A good teacher can put technology to good use to make a difference. But it cannot do the job for him. It's the teacher that matters, not the technology.

1:17 AM  

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