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.

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Motivate Students to Balance Electronics Use (Affirmative 1)

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According to NBC news, two studies confirmed the excessive use of electronics affects students negatively. One study found, that students who are exposed by technology score 20% lower on standard cognition tests. The second study demonstrates that the students who are exposed to more technology, cannot concentrate on homework for more than two minutes without distracting themselves with social media or email.

Using electronics in a classroom is the new look for education. However some students do not want to completely have their education purely based on electronics, but in today’s world technology in education is the latest fashion and current trend. It also becomes a distraction.

These days, schools let the students use Chrome Books starting in pre-school. Specifically, private schools do this to appeal more to the people with an interest in private schooling. This is a marketing tool. What do parents buy for their son’s/daughter’s first birthday? So, instead of kids reading books or playing with toys, they are more likely to become addicted to their gadgets. This could lead to recess becoming 30 minute free time to play their Fruit Ninja app game or even go on Twitter versus playtime outside.

Every day and all day we live with our gadgets. It causes more distractions than before, not only in the class room but during family dinner, homework, when you are driving your car and most other places. 

A professor at California State University-Dominguez Hills, Larry Rosen, published a study in the May issue of Computers in Human Behavior that made attempt to calculate how often students of all ages are distracted by technology when they study. The results were dismal. What was found was that students knowingly being observed on their normal study environments still could not resist texting or going on Twitter, Facebook, etc. This happened 2 minutes into the 15 minutes observation time.

Electronic gadgets affect students negatively most of the time. To afford negative use, it’s best to just use electronic devices for leisure, instead of school use. This avoids unnecessary distractions. It is helpful there are apps to turn off electronics after a certain time of night or after excessive use. Parents can use these for their children. As for the young adults, we have to be able to maintain a balance ourselves. A balance that is with the use of electronics with real world activities. Otherwise, the world will be a disaster when technology fails! Keep Balance!

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).

Meet the Bloggers: Matthew

myAvatarHello! My name is Matthew. I am a Junior at the University of Maryland, College Park and I am studying Communication with a focus in digital media and visual communication. I absolutely love technology. I always upgrade to the newest gadgets whenever a new one releases, I own multiple high-end computers, game consoles, T.V.’s, and smartphones. I am absolutely surrounded by technology. Unfortunately having all this tech has made me reliant on it and as much as I hate to admit it, I can’t go 10 mins without using some sort of tech. The only time I can do something without the use of technology is when I’m taking school notes. I still prefer handwriting my notes for two reasons. The first reason is that I don’t have to create a backup of my notes because I’m worried that my computer might die. The second reason is that I read in a few studies that those who hand write notes are more likely to remember the content over those who type their notes. Anyway, we will be posting new stuff to the blog weekly and I hope you guys like it!!