Technology is not a panacea for learning

It’s easy to understand why so many school districts have spent countless millions on digital devices.  After all, their manufacturers have said they would engage students (“Schools Pushed for Tech in Every Classroom. Now Parents Are Pushing Back.” The Wall Street Journal, Sep. 4).  But the investment has not always paid off, according to a report from the National Education Policy Center.

In fact, it has often only reinforced the dependence of young people on their devices.  Yes, we want them to be digitally proficient when they graduate.  But the overuse can be detrimental.  It takes a certain discipline to read a textbook and write an essay by hand.  Critics will claim that’s an anachronism, but only time will tell if something important has not been lost in the obsession with technology in the classroom.

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4 Replies to “Technology is not a panacea for learning”

  1. There have been anecdotal reports — in news media and talking to friends — re students using the internet-enabled devices in the classrooms to screw around on the internet during instruction time. Seems like the device manufacturers should be able to install a control that allows the teacher to limit use of the device during instruction to websites or tasks identified by the teacher.


  2. Labor Lawyer: That’s not the only problem. Young people have become addicted to their devices, which means their ability to focus on people and events around them is diminished. There are already enough distractions without adding more in the name of increased learning. I still say that a teacher is the key to learning.


  3. The current idea that the humanities are not needed in our new tech world is just not true. By reading, for example, and discussing the world’s great literature, students form their own ideas and reference points. The fight between content and device has been going on since Bill Gates was working in his parents’ garage.
    If you don’t have something to display on a device you depend on inane games and darker sites. I’m just waiting for somebody to suggest we don’t need to read any more… or have they already?
    And as for allowing devices in classrooms… the schools have sold out. Once they allowed calculators in basic math classes, they lost.


  4. dkhatt: Humanities majors do not get well paying job offers compared with STEM majors. Students need to pay the rent after graduation. There will always be some students who major in the humanities, but they will be fewer and fewer.


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