Teachers vs. technology

In an April 1 post on NEA Today enti­tled Lap­tops Are Not Teach­ers, author Tim Walker pits tech­nol­ogy against teach­ers. He talks about the state’s plan to “cut teach­ers’ jobs, salaries, and increase class size.” This post isn’t intended to weigh-in on the debate in Idaho. As a for­mer union pres­i­dent and teacher, I cer­tainly value the work of teach­ers. Unfor­tu­nately, Walker seems to be attempt­ing to make his point by devalu­ing tech­nol­ogy. The entire post high­lights many of the com­monly held beliefs that some edu­ca­tors have about tech­nol­ogy. I’ve hand picked some of those state­ments from the arti­cle that I’d like to address.

You sim­ply can­not replace a teacher with a laptop

Although this is a good sound bite, I think this is extremely rare in most schools.  It is cer­tainly pos­si­ble that online courses could even­tu­ally elim­i­nate some teach­ing posi­tions, but even in those cases there is still a teacher.  In actu­al­ity, a school may replace a face-to-face teacher with an online teacher.  For some schools this means increased effi­ciency and wider course offerings.

Replac­ing expe­ri­enced edu­ca­tors with online classes is undoubt­edly a risky move, espe­cially since the rush to do is not founded on reli­able research.

It is worth not­ing that a report for the Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion came to the con­clu­sion that “On aver­age, stu­dents in online learn­ing con­di­tions per­formed bet­ter than those receiv­ing face-to-face instruc­tion.”  Sure, the research cited may not be the golden stan­dard for research, but it cer­tainly is bet­ter than the “gut feel­ing” that online learn­ing can’t match face-to-face instruction.

Specif­i­cally, online classes and dig­i­tal tools could under­cut the need to take stu­dents’ indi­vid­ual learn­ing styles into account. Any ben­e­fits new tech­nol­ogy may bring would then be over­shad­owed by the dam­age done to stu­dent learn­ing and the teach­ing profession.

Many online edu­ca­tors would argue that online learn­ing more eas­ily allows for indi­vid­u­al­ized instruc­tion.  I also think that it is worth not­ing that if you take online learn­ing out of the con­ver­sa­tion, many edu­ca­tors would also argue that our tra­di­tional schools are doing a poor job dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing instruction.

My point in this post isn’t to say tech­nol­ogy should replace teach­ers.  Unfor­tu­nately, the NEA arti­cle in response to Idaho schools Super­in­ten­dent Tom Luna’s reform effort made this debate about com­put­ers ver­sus teach­ers.  In that effort, the arti­cle misses the mark by embrac­ing some of the tech­nol­ogy myths men­tioned above that are ques­tion­able at best.

Nick Sauers

13 comments

  1. Jeff Johnson says:

    Edu­ca­tion has many com­plex issues and over­sim­pli­fi­ca­tion is easy. For exam­ple, “give every high school stu­dent a lap­top by 2015″ would be, I think, a project that would require more highly-trained edu­ca­tors, thor­ough plan­ning and a long-term com­mit­ment to pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment — all of which would seem to bode well for Idaho’s teach­ers. Stu­dent lap­top pro­grams can be suc­cess­ful (with suc­cess defined by a vari­ety of stu­dent achieve­ment mea­sures) but hardly by hand­ing out com­put­ers with­out con­sid­er­ing other fac­tors that are crit­i­cal for the invest­ment to succeed.

    The Governor’s ideas may not be based on a vision for edu­ca­tion but I do think that talk­ing about online learn­ing can have pos­i­tive effects, par­tic­u­larly if the devel­op­ment of full and par­tially online courses opens up the school day and frees edu­ca­tors from rigid schedules.

    As a for­mer HS sci­ence teacher, I can attest to the frus­tra­tion many edu­ca­tors have with short (45–50 minute) class peri­ods, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to time-intensive activ­i­ties (sci­ence labs, technology-related projects, etc.). Many schools still oper­ate with these inflex­i­ble school sched­ules; per­haps expand­ing the stu­dents’ learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties beyond the typ­i­cal 8 am — 3pm bound­aries will enable schools to exper­i­ment and pro­vide expanded time peri­ods that would allow teach­ers to cre­ate activ­i­ties not so eas­ily attempted in tra­di­tional schedules.

    There’s increased evi­dence to sug­gest that hybrid courses — those that com­bine face-to-face and online learn­ing — have many pos­i­tives and are a good way to intro­duce stu­dents to online learn­ing. Prepar­ing teach­ers to teach online, along with prepar­ing them to use tech­nol­ogy more effec­tively, is a pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment chal­lenge. We’ve known for decades now that this is one of the most impor­tant fac­tors in curriculum-technology inte­gra­tion efforts. Schools can have lots of com­put­ers, inter­ac­tive white­boards and fast net­works but with­out vision­ary lead­ers that under­stand and com­mit to pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment, the promise of tech­nol­ogy will con­tinue to fall far short.

    The “teach­ers vs. com­put­ers” argu­ment is a spu­ri­ous one. On the other hand, books like “Teach­ing 2030
    What We Must Do for Our Stu­dents and Our Pub­lic Schools–Now and in the Future” are the oppo­site of the innu­mer­able paint-by-number pro­pos­als we get from politi­cians and offer fresh, thought­ful ideas from prac­tic­ing edu­ca­tors.
    http://store.tcpress.com/0807751545.shtml

    It’s clear that edu­ca­tion as we know it is chang­ing fast — what choices will we make that will truly ben­e­fit students?

  2. […] tech­nol­ogy in the class room. While doing some research about the topic I came across this arti­cle “Tech­nol­ogy vs. Teach­ers” which caught my eye imme­di­ately because of its rel­e­vance to the ongo­ing debate. In this arti­cle the […]

  3. hosting says:

    host­ing…

    […]Teach­ers vs. tech­nol­ogy | 1 to 1 Schools[…]…

  4. otter box ipad…

    […]Teach­ers vs. tech­nol­ogy | 1 to 1 Schools[…]…

  5. Mark Rus­sell, Ceo and founder of Opti­mus Effi­ciency Mar­ket­ing, said: “It truly is ini­tially appar­ent that the
    major­ity of the gen­eral pub­lic are ill-informed of the impact
    affil­i­ate adver­tis­ing could have on the pop­u­lar­ity and per­ceived stand­ing
    of a business.

  6. twitter says:

    My brother sug­gested I might like this blog.
    He was once entirely right. This pub­lish truly made my day.

    You can not imag­ine sim­ply how so much time I had spent
    for this infor­ma­tion! Thank you!

  7. When I orig­i­nally com­mented I clicked the “Notify me when new com­ments are added” check­box
    and now each time a com­ment is added I get three e-mails with
    the same com­ment. Is there any way you can remove peo­ple from that ser­vice?
    Many thanks!

  8. pokud jste zvyklí na haz­ardní stránkách odehrá­va­jící se na 30″ stolní monitor

  9. What’s up col­leagues, how is the whole thing, and what you would like to say regard­ing this arti­cle,
    in my view its truly remark­able in favor of me.

  10. here says:

    Write more, thats all I have to say. Lit­er­ally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point.
    You obvi­ously know what youre talk­ing about, why throw away
    your intel­li­gence on just post­ing videos to your weblog when you could be giv­ing us some­thing enlight­en­ing to read?

  11. It is so easy and straight up if you just know what to do.
    This is sim­ply a web page that entices peo­ple to leave their con­tacts in exchange for
    some­thing valu­able they are search­ing for. How­ever, since
    some of these sites fetch infor­ma­tion from your social net­work­ing sites,
    there­fore it is imper­a­tive to choose a web­site for such
    ser­vices with utmost care and importance.

  12. After look­ing over a num­ber of the arti­cles on your web page, I hon­estly appre­ci­ate your way
    of blog­ging. I book marked it to my book­mark web­site list and
    will be check­ing back in the near future. Please check out my web­site as
    well and let me know your opinion.

  13. Ask­ing ques­tions are actu­ally fas­tid­i­ous thing if you are not
    under­stand­ing some­thing entirely, except this para­graph offers good under­stand­ing yet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*


*

order valium no prescription valium for sale order valium overnight buy soma buy soma without prescription buy soma without prescriptions cheap diazepam online diazepam online pharmacy buy diazepam rx order phentermine online phentermine online pharmacy cheap phentermine no prescription buy tramadol no rx buy tramadol no prescription purchase tramadol order xanax overnight buy xanax online without prescription order xanax online ativan no prescription buy ativan online without prescription ativan no rx buy klonopin overnight shipping klonopin online pharmacy cheap klonopin no prescription order provigil online overnight buy provigil no prescription buy provigil online mastercard overnight buy ambien online cheap buy ambien online without prescription ambien no prescription