Greg Whitby, claims that the focus on technology is a “waste of time”. He says, “If you focus on the technology, you ignore the central problem and the central issue.”
What do you think he means by this?
Whitby (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2016) argues that although technology is a crucial tool to enhance the classroom, the infatuation with technology in education has led to the central issue being ignored. Education is foremost about the quality of teaching and learning. Callil (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2016) prefaces Whitby’s claim by stating that technology doesn’t educate people; people educate people. This indicates that it is the teachers that require more of the focus and that in the 21st century, it is still the people who are the most valuable tools in education. Therefore the focus should be on the professional development of teachers to equip them with the strategies to utilise technology and enable development of students’ critical digital literacies. By reflecting on the history of technology and looking at the big picture, “technology does not equal a panacea for education” thus development of pedagogy that promotes 21st-century learning would perhaps be a better use of ‘time’(Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p. 20).
To what extent do you agree?
Whitby makes some valid claims and his statement that the focus should be on the quality of teaching and learning, rather than technology is a view echoed by many. Davis emphasises the importance of teachers as leaders of renewal, and that it is the process of diffusing information and technology into educational organisations that requires core concern (2008, pp. 507-508). I agree that this is where the central issue lies, technology still relies on people as much as people rely on technology. However, a focus on technology should not be considered a waste of time if the focus equally includes pedagogy and content and the context in which all three are purposed (Mishra, 2012). Quality of teaching and learning should be the focus of academia but occupying an equal focus should be the incorporation of technological tools to assist and enhance 21st-century learning and teachers who are prepared to take advantage of its power and recognise its limitations.
Why do you think we focus on the technology?
It is undisputed that technology and the internet have become as Mishra indicates, “as epochal as the wheel” (2012). One of the top ten issues shaping the use of technology in education is society’s increasing dependence (and almost total reliance) on using it to communicate information hence the race to ensure that today’s students are developing these 21st-century skills (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p. 30). Perhaps it is the rapidly changing and ubiquitous nature of technology that encourages so much focus, or the fear of missing out. Bigum (2012, p. 15 -19) identifies that schools focus on and respond to technology to alleviate anxiety about keeping up with the school next door, linking ICT with desirable characteristics such as “efficiency”, “improvement” and “educational status”.
Perhaps it is the global nature of technology forcing a focus on the development of a global curriculum. Or that the evolution of technology is just exciting and captures the imagination of innovative educators.
Post any comments/thoughts/ideas you have about the podcast and video.
Whitby (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2016) argues that the real power of learning lies in the use of software and applications with devices becoming increasingly irrelevant. This is an interesting statement and if true, then perhaps we should be looking to teachers as the ‘hardware’, who are better able to ‘download’, disseminate and apply the required information to improve the nature of learning using software ie. technology to enhance the classroom. Whilst technology is integral to education and the development of 21st-century learners, good teachers are more crucial now than ever.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation. (2016). Future Tense: 21st Century Education. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/21st-century-education/4197700#transcript
Belshaw, D. (2012). The essential elements of digital literacies. Retrieved from TedX Talks:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8yQPoTcZ78
Bigum, C. (2012). Schools and Computers: Tales of a digital romance. In C. Bigum, & L. Rowan (Eds.), Transformative Approaches to New Technologies and Student Diversity in Futures Oriented Classrooms : Future Proofing Education (pp. 15-28). Netherlands: Springer.
Davis, N. (2008). How may teacher learning be promoted for educational renewal with IT? In J. Voogt, & G. Knezek (Eds.), International Handbook of Information Technology in Primary and Secondary Education (Part One) (pp. 507-519). New York: Springer Science + Business Media.
Mishra, P. (2012, March 26). 21st Century Learning. Hong Kong. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bwXYa91fvQ
Roblyer, M., & Doering, A. H. (2014). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th ed.). Essex, UK: Pearson Education Limited.