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

Cart and Horse

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There are only minimal safeguards insurance from the technology becoming outdated.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.

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Technology vs. Books (Affirmative 3)

textbooks

Reading physical books has more benefits than using technology to read which has many potential problems.

Reading books is the traditional way to learn and be entertained. Reading a book does not have the major risks that can be associated when electronics and technology is involved. The benefits of reading are greater in number and are healthier than reading constantly on the internet or some technology.

Some benefits of reading books are as follows:

  • Greater retention of information
  • Less stress when reading
  • No information overload
  • No distractions on the page that is being read
  • No risk of hacking or any other type of data breach/malware
  • Unlikely for someone to steal a textbook
  • Less strain on eyes

Books have cons from being too heavy to carry or being limited regarding information but the benefits of being relaxed, not having an information overload, no distractions on the pages and other benefits listed and not listed above.

Technology allows for anyone to have tons of information at their fingertips within a second of time and with little effort, but no one can process thousands or millions of pages of information in little time. Technology provides easy use in finding information and sharing knowledge but just the attempt of thinking of how much information is related to a certain topic is insurmountable (information overload). Not relating to information overload a current hot topic is hacking, the spread of malware/viruses and other malicious programs as these subjects only relate to electronics and technology. Technology has the risk of malfunctioning on its own or by human intent and error. Also, something to add is that technology and electronics have a battery that does not last forever and for electronics that need a plug well you still need electricity to use the technology. Using technology (tablets, computers, etc.) for a prolonged time can create health problems to the user. Some health problems include eye strain and other eye problems, neck problems, shoulder problems, carpool tunnel and other problems.

Going back to books well there are no batteries, no direct use of electricity (sometimes a light is needed to read if the environment the reader is in is too dark), no risk of a hacker or malfunctioning and there is almost no chance in the reader having information overload. Books also are less likely to cause any type of health problem to the reader.

Your choice—Books that provide many benefits—or—Technology that is easy to use but has many major risks, problems, and can impact your health negatively.

Reading books is just the better choice.