Learning Journal #9

The arguments and major critiques I see about educational technology is that people want computers to be viewed as the “saviors of technology.” In The Computer Delusion , Tood Oppenheimer, explains that some schools just want to buy flashy gear for simple practices that are not the conclusive to learning. He explains that one school district was just teaching typing classes with brand new “razzle dazzle” equipment. He address the problem with school districts cutting other programs such as, wood shop, art and music classes to make way for computer classes. His solution is not to ban computers from the classroom, but to ban the overspending that is done by the government.

Diane Ravitch echos the similar statements of Oppenheimer, but specifically calls out online schooling. She describes technology as a way to “inspire creativity or dehumanize learning.” Ravitch argues that online schooling has high dropout rates and are profit driven. She states that large textbook companies are creating test grading software that will trap students into a new type of testing taking formula. These textbook companies could also sell the exam results so our students privacy is breached for profits.

David Noble also has a strong distaste of big companies dipping their hands into education assessments. He explains that companies will sell teachers and students data. Noble makes the argument that teachers are pressured to use certain software to upload their lessons. Because of the user agreement that is in place with theses software, teachers and students lose the rights to their own work. He calls this the age of “automation.” Noble and both Ravitch outlines that companies have found a legal way to break the fair use rule on teachers.

As an educator, my job will be to try and find a balance with these issues. I have to fight the razzle and dazzle fads that come into the classroom. Even Steve Jobs said that having technology is not enough to solve the problems of education. We still need expert teachers feeding the students. My big task will be making sure my students have computer literacy before implementing new technology into the classroom. I also need to know if the tech is appropriate for the classroom. I would not want to teach a bunch of students Photoshop if they could not understand the principles of design.

As an educator I will struggle with the balance of traditional and edu tech. This because I sometimes find the “old ways the best” (or easier). For example, my pay stub is only viewable online. I do not get a physically check. This is the norm for many workplaces. However, if I did not have a foundation in computer literacy, I would not have the skills to access my paystub. This is something I have witnessed with my co-worker you cannot perform tasks that require the “basic” computer skills. Having the pay stub and other important documents makes record keeping easier for admins, but not so much for the actual workers. Another example is taking classroom attendance, some that can be done quickly with pen and paper but can be done online. The drawback with having attendance online, is having to document the unpredictability of students attendance rates. Sometimes students will be late, leave early, or be sick. This can be a hassle to edit after you have already submitted a online form.

“None of these equivalents addresses the core activity of teaching and learning” (Bain, Wetson) speak on the issues of new educational technology. New smart boards will not replace the content of the subject matter. As an educator, I can not rely on my tools to the job for me. “Teach carpentry, not hammers” (Oppenheimer) was another quote I really enjoyed. In my job right, I use my hands a lot. To train students (especially those that have a hard time speaking English) I have to show them how it is done rather then tell.

I do not know how I will battle the automation issue if that happens to me. I will have to create a site where I post all of my lessons first. This is something I really have to think about because the huge corporate giants have found a way to get free professionally developed material.

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