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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Can Relying on Technology for School Work Remain Feasible in the Future?

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As you may be aware, the new iPhone X was released just a short time ago. The price of this new device starts at $999, which is $300-$400 more than previous models. This substantial price increase got me thinking about whether or not future tech will become so expensive, that very few will be able to afford it. I know that the iPhone X is a phone and not a laptop, but it’s not impossible for laptops and tablets to follow suit. In fact, at the rate laptops and tablets keep advancing, I would say that substantial increases for these devices aren’t far off. So how does this relate to the technology vs traditional study method argument?

Well, in the likely event laptop and tablet prices skyrocket, technology could become hard to obtain or even be unobtainable to those who are able to afford that stuff now. Right now laptops are available for as low as $300-$400, but if those prices were to double, that could spell trouble for a lot of students. This would mean that students who solely rely on technology for school, could be unable to afford future upgrades. If a student is unable to upgrade, they would no longer be able to use the technology they have become hopelessly reliant on. Should this scenario come to pass, those students would have to rely on technology a lot less and traditional methods a lot more. Switching study methods could have a negative impact on a student’s ability to perform in school and in professional settings. When relying on technology for everything, there are a lot of variables to consider. Unfortunately, there are just too many unknowns in the equation to call relying on technology a safe bet. It’s better to rely on the more traditional methods and use technology sparingly.