The Real Face-Book (Affirmative Post Week 4)

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The purpose of this blog is to espouse the virtues of a non-erasure of traditional teaching methods and tools. Today, I am extending that statement to cover the physical presence of the very teachers themselves. I sincerely believe that the teachers and their physical face-to-face presence in the room alongside their students is one more notch in favor of traditional methods.

Two articles, Face-to-Face Training Still the Better Choice Over Digital Lessons and The value of analogue educational tools in a digital environment, written by Salah Banna and Andrew Murray respectively, provide support for the idea that students perform better in an environment where the teacher has presence and prominence, if not outright precedence. There is “…the fundamental reality that humans are social beings” (Banna), and the educational system should reflect that with a notable role maintained for the instructor(s) of a course. How this ties into education and our blog’s stated mission is with the inevitable — if potentially fluctuating in prominence — presence of modern technology in the classroom; the presence of digital tools/methods can be a barrier to the inherent humanity that emanates from real people and which can enhance the curriculum of a course.

Murray’s article alludes to the concepts of soft and hard determinism in regards to technology and its human creators; that is to say, Murray’s article alludes to the idea that technology will gradually become “…[an] advance of technology [that] leads to a situation of inescapable necessity” (Murray). The concept of technological determinism seems inevitable, and it is perhaps exactly for that reason that it should be delayed at all costs, in the name of keeping teachers employed and present to provide tangible wisdom and interaction to their students. As Murray states toward the end of his article, “in the rush to embrace the new we must not forget the value of established educational tools and techniques” (Murray). Teachers are not “tools” per se, but they are certainly established and valuable.

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Putting the Cart Before the Horse (Refutation, Week #3)

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As the debate rages on over the caliber of the status of technology in the classroom –if there should be any status granted at all — a man by the name of Danny Mareco took it upon himself to make not just a case, but a full fledged declaration for the heavy presence of modern digital learning tools in the classroom. On the site SecurEdge, Mr. Mareco made his aptly named declaration, titled “10 Reasons Today’s Students NEED Technology in the Classroom”.

In his article, Mr. Mareco runs through ten major points explaining his reasons that there should be more integration of technology in modern classrooms. The points are as follows:

  1. Preparation for future careers for students
  2. The expansion of the variety of learning styles
  3. An increase in student collaboration
  4. “Digital citizenship skills” – Noted by Mr. Mareco as responsible use of mobile devices
  5. Consistency with growing influence of technology in students’ early non-school lives
  6. Potential of Virtual reality to be integrated into the classroom down the line
  7. Easier access to up-to-date info
  8. Less of the “traditional passive learning model” in which teachers only relay information to their students
  9. The ownership of a school device can teach responsibility
  10. “It’s a transformative experience”, i.e.: new curricula such as coding and the aforementioned potential for new kinds of collaboration, among other things mildly alluded to in the article

While I believe that the article raises several good points about the positive potential for greater integration of new technology in modern classrooms, I believe Mr. Mareco is putting the cart before the horse in some respects. Towards the start of the article, Mr. Mareco claims that “schools are on the fence about the use of certain mobile devices”, and he is correct. I believe that the schools have every right to remain on the fence given much of this technology is unproven in numerous educational circuits. For one thing, the potential for virtual reality usage is likely unproven potential as of this writing.

And then there is the matter of using digital tools with the ability “… to access the most up-to-date information quicker and easier than ever before”. This may be a serious problem in era of widespread fake news diluting the well so to speak.

There are only minimal safeguards insurance from the technology becoming outdated. As touched upon in prior refutations, technology is not only expensive, but easily susceptible to obsolescence. It is best to minimize reliance on tools that will be rendered outmoded by successors as much as possible.

It is also, if not worrying, then at least important to note that this article, posted on SecureEdge, finishes with an endorsement of its parent site’s Wi-Fi services for schools. It would be best to advise caution pertaining to the article’s intentions, as the article’s host site/creator itself could directly financially benefit from the introduction of more technology into classrooms, whether or not it is wise or even safe to have it. It is cliché to say, but older learning tools have stood the test of time and are not at the mercy of an unreliable Wi-Fi connection, or of service companies who are gradually gaining more and more power over the consumer.

The price to pay for new technology is running the risk of becoming a guinea pig for electronics manufacturers and the internet companies that power said manufacturers’ devices. I believe that, as it stands, there are too many drawbacks to letting in further technological advances.

Meet the Bloggers: Jordan Cooper

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Hello everyone, my name is Jordan Cooper. I am a Communication major at the Universities at Shady Grove. I am interested in this topic of classic versus modern learning tools, because I am invested in the future of the generation of students that will succeed me. I am a firm believer in the healthy coexistence of tactile (or “analog”) and digital tools in the classroom. Basic skills should not be wholly sacrificed for constantly replaced — not to mention expensive — modern technology.  I just feel as though as our society gets older, the human element in education (among other societal sectors) is downplayed or even removed completely. I reiterate, I am not calling for the focus of solely traditional resources in the classroom, but I am advocating for caution in assuming solely digital resources are a superior replacement (I have no desire to “throw the baby out with the bathwater”, so to speak).