Technology aids learning
I recently attended a conference for school heads where one of the keynote presentations was by an Ivy League-educated researcher on technology and education. I was hoping to be inspired and pick up some great ideas to bring back to Buffalo. Instead, I was treated to a one-hour rant about all the evils of technology. It was off-putting and not very helpful to a head of school.
I often find myself disheartened by the alarmist opinions about how technology is destroying our society and our children’s lives. I’m not talking about the warnings about predators and cyber bullying. I am aware of and very concerned by these issues. I’m referring to those who lament the loss of paper and pen communication. What will become of handwritten notes? What about holding a real book? And, good heavens, what about the lost art of cursive handwriting? Oh, the humanity!
I am much more interested in how technology enriches our lives and how it can be leveraged to transform learning. Because it is not going away. Our school has a one-to-one iPad program beginning in 4th grade. Many others schools have something similar. Technology is much more than a substitution for paper and pen. And the benefits of technology are not limited to young students.
So tell me about how technology increases brain activity and re-wires the brain to work more efficiently. Tell me about the engaging and exciting ways curriculum can be delivered to kids in the 21st century. Show me TED Talks, TeacherTube, and other sites sharing information that can change and enrich the lives of my students. Use phrases like “individualized learning technology,” and teach me that students no longer have to wait until the later college years to choose what they learn.
But don’t tell me to be afraid. There are a bunch of things of which I should be afraid—social security running out before I retire, large spiders, the presidential candidates, my mother-in-law (just kidding, Sass). Technology isn’t one of them.