Debate 1: Does Technology Enhance Learning? I think… NOT

During January 29th’s EDTC 400 class, we had our first debate. The debate was on whether or not technology enhances learning. On the agree side was Ashlee Standiford and on the disagree side was Raeann Weisbeck. Before the debate took place the class did a prevote, agree or disagree. I disagreed and I think I was the only one in the class who disagreed before the debate started. Although I had voted for disagree, there were many facts that Ashlee had made for the agree side. Although my post vote was still disagree, my mindset totally changed at the end of the debate.

Agree: Teachnology Enhances Learning

George Couros‘ article, As Technology Becomes Easier to Use, Our Depth of Learning Needs to Continue to Increase, contains some information that supports the idea of technology enhancing learning. Couros mentions that technology has removed many barriers which is very true. Technology has made everything so much easier! Things like quick communication, note taking, research purposes, etc are so easy for me to do, I could not imagine life without the technology we do today. Although I see the pros to this, I cannot help but to see the cons as well. Couros quotes Blake Harvard’s A Focus on Learning, Not Fun, “I fear, however, that upon reflection of a lesson, fun becomes the measuring stick of the lesson’s success and learning takes a backseat or becomes almost an option for the lesson”. Technology is great in the classroom but eventually students will get bored of it or take advantage of it and the learning process will be gone. This leads to technology not enhancing learning.

In Bari Courts and Jan Tucker‘s article, Using Technology To Create A Dynamic Classroom Experiencethere are points they make that I cannot find a cons side to. They talk about multimedia and how it takes learning to a different level. Students are no longer forced to learn through textbooks anymore. Today’s society has access to “animation, text, audio, video, slideshows, podcasts instant messaging, and simulations”. When I become a teacher I want to respect the fact that all my students are not going to learn the same way as each other. Multimedia gives options to students learning and expands the ways of learning within a classroom.

Disagree: Technology Doesn’t Enhance Learning

In Matthew Lynch‘s article, The Dark Side of Educational Technology, quotes “Learning does not always have to have a ‘fun’ portion attached”. My technology use in university is definitely not the same as it was in high school. Are we putting in children’s mind that learning will always be through iPads during class? Although I use my laptop a lot in university, it is not as fun as it was in high school. Are we setting expectations to children/students that will not always be held? I think we are. Lynch also makes a good point when it comes to accessibility. When I was in high school and the class were to type up a paper on the computer using Microsoft Word, classmates of mine would talk about how they will just email it themselves and finish it back at home. But I did not have Microsoft Word at home, I didn’t even have Microsoft Office in general. Some students in my class did not have a computer so they did not have access to the internet nor Word. Not only does it make it impossible for students to do their homework at home, but it makes them feel unequal. Imagine being the only student without a computer at home? It may not seem like a big deal while you read this but being in the situation would be a lot more different. I knew I didn’t feel the greatest when everyone was able to do their papers at home and I wasn’t able to.

In Julia Klaus’ article, Negative Effects of Using Technology in Today’s Classroom, there is a section labelled Game Mentality. Klaus states, “One problem that many classroom teachers face is that students often use computers primarily for games”. I was a teacher’s assistant and the students were to use iPads for an assignment, and there was a lot of kids getting off task. Most of the time kids would play games or start googling things that were irrelevant to the task at hand. I mean even for me now, I will not play games but, I’ll get myself distracted and go on Facebook while trying to complete homework. How can technology enhance learning when kids play games? As Klaus mentions in the article, what if there are technical issues? Will that waste time? Yes. Will that enhance learning? No.

My Conclusion: 

Technology has changed our society’s life, no doubts on that. Educationally, it has given teachers and students different opportunities of learning and that is something I will never be able to argue against. However, I do see a lot more cons then I do pros. I think technology in classrooms set barriers for the educators. Technical malfunctions, students getting off task, the lack of accessibility are just a few of many barriers that make learning through technology very challenging.

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3 Replies to “Debate 1: Does Technology Enhance Learning? I think… NOT”

  1. Hey Kylie! I think you summarized both sides of the debate really well! It was really interesting that you were one of the only ones who believed technology does not enhance learning prior to the debate and you stuck with your beliefs through and through! I landed on the fence as so what I thought was true, as technology has opened up so many opportunities (like you said) but there are so many dangers/drawbacks as well! Good work with supporting you beliefs!

  2. Hi Kylie! I really enjoyed reading your perspective of using technology in the classroom! Many of the blogs I have been reading over the past week have supported the pro side of technology enhancing learning so it was really nice to see your perspective on the con side! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi Kylie, thank you for that insightful post! I really liked how you addressed the issue of equity when it comes to how we use technology at school and at home. I think that as future educators we need to be careful about what types of assignments we give to our students and ask ourselves, “Is this an equitable task for all of those in our class”. The reason being that every student comes from a different background so their access to technology will vary. I often think that if we, as teachers, are assigning work to be done when technology is used to enhance learning then the learning should take place at school in order to achieve a more equitable outcome. Thanks again for sharing your post!

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