Saanich News Letter to the Editor: Technology a spin on old teaching method

Whynotwired is not against technology but the letter to the editor, “Technology a spin on old teaching method,” Feb 9/11,  makes some interesting points. (see the article below) How long will students attention be sustained after the wow factor wears off?  In the same vein, the author of Staffroom Confidential recently wrote a blog post entitled, “Do we need a slow school movement?” Food for thought, read the post here.

Growing up Digital – Wired for Distraction, expresses concern too.

Researchers say the lure of these technologies, while it affects adults too, is particularly powerful for young people. The risk, they say, is that developing brains can become more easily habituated than adult brains to constantly switching tasks — and less able to sustain attention.

“Their brains are rewarded not for staying on task but for jumping to the next thing,” said Michael Rich, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and executive director of the Center on Media and Child Health in Boston. And the effects could linger: “The worry is we’re raising a generation of kids in front of screens whose brains are going to be wired differently.”

But even as some parents and educators express unease about students’ digital diets, they are intensifying efforts to use technology in the classroom, seeing it as a way to connect with students and give them essential skills. Across the country, schools are equipping themselves with computers, Internet access and mobile devices so they can teach on the students’ technological territory.

So, who will gain the most from SMART technology, will it be as the author of the Saanich News letter predicts, Smart technology shareholders? safeschool.ca shares a link to the Cisco Educational Campaign. Find their post entitled “Selling Wi-Fi” here.

There are many positive attributes to the foundations of 21st Century Learning and many attributes to augmenting education with technology.  Yet who’s leading the cart, education or corporation? And at what expense? There are those already speaking out about teens and their addictions to cell phones, texting, facebook and more. They sleep with their phones under their pillows, always on alert as they wait to for the next incoming text. Never mind the potential long term health effects of having these devices close to one’s head all night.

This is profitable news for industry and expanding their market with a full fledged campaign into the school system is a logical business choice.   In the meantime, we hear warning after warning about the use of such wireless technologies and the long term effects on health. Who discredits the warnings and those willing to risk speaking out publicly, industry. It’s been stated repeatedly that there’s not enough evidence to prove it’s not safe, yet there’s no evidence proving it is safe.

Sourced from Saanich News here.

Re: Technology in the Classroom – A new way to learn (News, Jan. 26)

This article is, in my opinion, somewhat misguided and ill-informed.

What was shown is not a new way to learn; it is learning in a manner that is 100 years old – with the teacher in front and the children all sitting in their desks watching.

The picture you provided in your article illustrates my point. The act of teaching that we see is the exact form of teaching that took place in one-room schoolhouses.

Using expensive equipment to teach in this same manner does not make this “21st-century learning.”

The SMART board does not necessarily make for better teaching and learning, nor does using clickers, an electronic method of taking a multiple choice test, qualify.

I am sure Ms. Porter is doing the best she can with the outdated curriculum she must teach, but for you to call this, “a new way to learn” is misleading to your readers and is nothing but false advertising for SMART Technologies.

It is an old way to learn and a way for SMART shareholders to make a profit from educators looking for a non-existent quick fix to truly bringing education into the 21st century.

You interviewed students who are impressed with this new technology (kids always are), but like coloured chalk and overhead projectors, the shine on the SMART board will soon wear off, leaving nothing but an out-dated, irrelevant curriculum in its wake.

It is imperative that as adults we look beyond these shiny new toys and assess whether the new technology will have any lasting benefit to our students.

Katy Connelly

Oak Bay

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This entry was posted in 21st Century Learning, BCCPAC Wi-Fi Resolution, industry, Media, Uncategorized, VCPAC, Wi-Fi, Wireless technology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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