Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Real Issue With Tech In Ed

If doctors' interest and ability in diagnosing and helping patients improve were limited, if the medicines themselves were not always known to work, and if the patients didn't have much ability to pay - how much do you think 'tech' would work? Moreover, if 'tech' took over the mistakes usually made by teachers, it would work even less, isn't it?
This is what is happening in the case of 'technology in education'....
Vendors can be excused for touting their 'solutions' as real solutions - educators and decision-makers are the ones to be blamed for willingly falling into the trap of believing that technology will motivate teachers, overcome corruption, deal with the hierarchies that operate at the point of learning and perpetuate the hegemony of a few, tailor education to the needs and the experiences of the marginalized, solve the issue of huge and increasing diversity that teachers face, and overcome the indifference of the political / administrative establishment to poor educational performance.
A common finding in an analysis of most tech in ed efforts would likely show that after the initial enthusiasm and perhaps even use, the actual interaction / utilisation declines - eventually, it lies locked up or disused or misused (teachers use computers as a means of keeping children busy while they do something else). Sometimes a new wave of tech in ed displaces the old one but then neither end up making a sufficient difference.
It's not as if technology cannot make a difference, but it needs to be thought through differently. Usually, the thought process is - 'what can we do with tech'? This is like saying: 'now that we have a car, where should we go?' You might end up going somewhere you didn't want to go. Instead, the question should be - 'what do we desperately want to do / need to do (and why), in which technology can play a part?' Examples of this are relatively rare!

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