I came across this really grasping article on TES today. It’s called: ‘Give us some coffee-shop technology’ by Julie Belgutay. (Link below.) It’s really interesting! Overall, a great read and quite thought provoking (as you can probably tell from my response)!
I think it highlights a current aspect within education that does in fact need to be addressed.
The reality is that technology is having a strong and very beneficial influence on education. Yet, it’s full potential has not yet been achieved and I find this somewhat concerning as technology is constantly developing. I accept that there are financial limits on making technology available in schools – especially under the current economic climate. However, the technology that we have in schools does not reflect what technology is actually used for in society.
Though there is speculation that teachers will one day be replaced by technology, the reality is that it would never happen – in my view. Teachers provide for much more than educating children. There is an emotional and social aspect that teachers provide – which children need to have in order to develop. This support cannot be given by technology, thereby ruling out that technology will one day be teaching the class. So – technology wont be standing up there in front of a class teaching,but who is to say that, one day, it can’t play an influence in leading the class and education as a whole.
Many children now have access to the Internet at home and in other public places such as libraries, coffee shops and lets not forget schools. Despite this major influence that technology, and in particular the Internet, plays in children’s’ life’s, what are we teachers doing to accommodate it?
Curriculum for Excellence aims for pupils to acquire and develop the knowledge, skills and attributes to help them in society and prepare them to be successful and contributing adults. With so many restrictions on the Internet in schools (which do not exist in libraries and coffee shops) what are we doing for our children?
The argument of ‘keeping children safe’ does carry some weight, but in what context? If we prevent our children from using social networking sites in schools and other ‘restricted’ sites, such as YouTube, are we ‘protecting’ them or are we in fact hindering them and preventing the inevitable? I personally believe the latter. I am by no means saying that children should be able to access explicit or inappropriate information online. Internet safety should still be taught, developed and promoted. I simply argue, are we ‘teaching’ pupils how to be safe when being online, by blocking ‘Facebook’, when the children will go home after school and log on to their own social networking sites. Social networking sites and others such as YouTube could be employed in the classroom and used to benefit the learning experience as a whole. It would provide pupils with the skills and knowledge on how to use such sites and in turn how to be safe. Plus, it is a free and available resource – and accessible with the technology that is already in schools.
In an ideal economic climate, would schools still have those bulky Windows computers? I doubt it. I imagine schools would be equipped with iPads and other new and up to date, modern technologies. Though this is the case in some schools, few have the privilege or money to access such resources.
Personally, I think the technology available by Apple is thought provoking, stimulating, and is the future of education.
We could tackle so many things in education with technology. We could intrinsically motivate boys to be interested in literature and language. We could break the barriers to education and have knowledge at the fingertips of every child. Technology could, one day, define education and in itself be a revolution. I accept this is speculation, BUT I will use one of Constantin Stanislavski’s notions: the magic ‘if’, (Which he used in the context of theatre to stimulate the imagination.) as the concept of imagination is the same. What If modern technology was available to the average classroom? What if we could enhance the learning experience and prepare children for their futures? What if everything I have just said were in fact a reality, and not mere speculation?
It is something to think about!
I realise I have ranted here and could continue to do so! Have a read. Feel free to let me know what you think!