Module 1: Thinking about technology

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).

images

Source: http://quotesgram.com/quotes-about-computers-in-education/

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”.

download

Source: http://www.simionovich.com/tag/internet/

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.

Reference List

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.

Advertisements
Standard

14 thoughts on “Module 1: Thinking about technology

  1. Ellen McIntyre says:

    Hi Angela.
    I like the look of your page, and your inclusion of some thought provoking quotes.

    With regard to the Whitby comment about hardware becoming irrelevant, I wonder if the advent of cloud computing and the ready availability of the Internet rather than device-based software has made it more easy to disregard the hardware. For a long time we have had platform wars, such as PC vs. Mac, but lately these issues rarely seem to rate a mention. On the prac that I am just completing, when I ask students to get out their devices, some use laptops, some use tablets and some use phones. Screen size varies, but they all manage to complete tasks regardless of the device or platform. It makes it much easier for me to focus on what they are learning, rather than how they can access it. I hadn’t realised this until I started thinking about your post. Thanks, Ellen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing your experience Ellen. I’m yet to step into a classroom and so much has changed since I was in the classroom, pre mobile days! I’m interested students can use different devices to achieve the same task. To go one step further, I am studying a maths major and using several different tools to achieve the same task. Mmy perspective of the use of technology in learning is changing so much already.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Rebecca, Its so difficult to gauge what will and wont work when you haven’t stepped foot in a classroom yet. I am the same, prac is a while away for me. I feel optimistic and excited about the use of technology but also feel perhaps I am naive. I am sure technology will advance even more by the time we graduate but i agree, Im so interested in BYOD and how students can use different devices to achieve proficiency.

        Angela

        Like

    • Hi Ellen, so interested to hear about your prac experiences. I am yet to set foot into a classroom so I am highly optimistic about the use of technology in the classroom and perhaps naive. I think BYOD is crucial to enabling learning that is relevant to students’ everyday use of technology and so interested to hear your experiences with it. I think you’re absolutely right, that as teachers we need to be focusing on the learning rather than how they are accessing it. You have given me food for thought, thanks!

      Angela

      Like

  2. Great Work Angela! You’ve put together an impressive webpage with well written and presented thoughts. I share your view on Whitby; technology is a tool to achieve outcomes first and foremost. In terms of adopting technology to keep up with “schools next door”, I think that perhaps this is also a response to the rise of informal learning (and technology use outside school). It’s difficult to fully plan/implement technology when it is impossible to track student technology proficiency/exposure outside the classroom. I also feel that many ideas regarding classroom tech will ultimately come down to school resources (long before we get to innovating). Though my thoughts are from someone who is yet to step foot in a classroom as a teacher, so grain of salt required. 😉 Cheers, j.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment James.
      I think this is where BYOD comes in regarding school resources. A key argument is that BYOD frees up school resources and eliminates the need for schools to keep updating their hardware. When i think how much cost is involved in buying a single computer, only to have something better/faster/more advanced appear on the market what feels like only months later, I can completely see how BYOD fulfills this dilemma and gives rise to informal learning. I am not sure yet how we, as teachers can track proficiency in this regard but having sound pedagogy to integrate technology and maintaining professional development with an open mind might definitely pave the way.

      Angela

      Like

  3. Great post. I agree on the Fear of Missing out (FOMO). I always feel i need to download the latest app because i dont like being behind the eight ball.

    I also agree with James in terms of school resources. I’m also yet to do a prac but i think that would limit what you can do in the classroom in terms of sophisticated tecnhology

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Cynthia, thanks for the comment. I feel FOMO a lot. I also love acronyms and wonder if text speak is something I might need to address as a future English teacher. As i replied to James, I think BYOD is key to updating school resources and keeping on pace with the rapid developments in technology. It reduces the need for schools to spend on acquiring hardware and focuses technology that the students are actually using.

      Angela

      Like

  4. Thanks for sharing Angela – you’re setting the bar high!

    I share your view on Whitby also, and as mentioned above. In my own learning in my maths major I am trialling different online graphing tools to achieve the same tasks. Keeping in mind I am yet to step into a classroom, my view on technology in learning is shifting from using the right tools and helping students use those to helping students understand the task and helping them learn how to choose the right technologies, or know where to look for the right technologies. This idea is touched on by Cox (2012) in week 2’s reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Angela,

    Very good blog I enjoyed reading your thoughts.

    You raise a very good point that the emphasis should be on professional development of teachers to equip them with the strategies to utilize technology. We can sometimes get very caught up in trying to find new technologies and trying to learn how to use them. I also agree with your comment regarding Whitby’s remarks that it is a “waste of time”. I believe that over the past 10 years the focus has been largely on how we can incorporate technology into the classroom, rather than focusing on the central issues in education then building the use of technology as a tool to solve these issues.

    I look forward to following your blog and hearing more of your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Matthew!
      Thanks for your comments. Professional development is definitely key to enhancing teaching strategies and the focus definitely needs to include pedagogy first, and technology as a tool to enhance pedagogy. I look forward to following your blog also.

      Thanks again!

      Like

  6. Hi Angela
    I enjoyed reading your post and I found Mishra’s approach of thinking about technology as a focus which includes pedagogy and content sound.
    I recently finished my first professional placement at a public high school which is limited in its availability of digital resources, it is renowned for having major classroom behavioural issues and known for its low socio-economic, ESL/NESB students (not to scare you it was a great and challenging experience!).
    It was interesting to see that students wanted to ‘engage’ in ANY type of technological resource when it was made available to them which changed the dynamics of the classroom in terms of the misbehaving students not only wanted to participate but they found the classroom and learning ‘fun’which in turn positively affected future lessons that included ANY form of digital resource.
    I believe that teachers and schools need to work together to ensure that a standard is maintained and that their teaching programs/units of work in terms of outcomes and content cater for the use of agreed specific technology, as I was very much left to a ‘trial’ and ‘error’ method in terms of seeing which of the limited hardwares and softwares worked well in my lessons.
    All the best this session and in your placement/s.
    Regards
    Marian Haddad

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your insight Marian, so interesting to hear of your experience. The literature supports technology as a motivating tool in the classroom, so I’m glad to hear that this was the case for you. Can you tell me what hardware and software you think worked best for your lessons? I have grand ideas about what I would like to include but fear I am overlooking some of the challenges with each tool because I lack the experience.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s