Ian Jukes posted an article on his blog called “No Child Left Untableted” by Carlo Rotella. This article talks about 18 middle schools that received 15,450 tablets for both students and teachers, courtesy of Amplify, to be used for class work, homework and educational games. Teachers in the district were receiving training on these tablets as a transformative educational tool. Some teachers were very receptive to the new technology, while others believed that these tablets would simply take over the classroom. Some did not like the idea of looking at a screen, as opposed to the students. The author of the article talks about this experiment showing the overvaluing of technology and the undervaluing of people, as well as the displacement of face-to-face interaction because of virtual connection. That being said, the author still came to Guilford County with curiosity and an open mind. The author even acknowledges that his tendency to dismiss the tech industry’s marketing might actually blind him to the tablets genuine potential as a teaching tool. He even spoke to Joel Klein, the chief executive of Amplify, and they spoke about his concern that technology isolates, rather than connects people. Klein stated that Grades K-12 isn’t working in the United States. There is a lot of money poured into education, with little results to show for it. Klein’s point is that we must be “very” different and better, as opposed to doing things a little different and a little better.
I think this article offers a lot of perspective. For one, it is clear that the “old” or “traditional” model of education is not working. This can simply be attributed to the fact that the traditional model was invented in a totally different world than the one we are living in now. In some way, I can sympathize with the author’s viewpoint that technology may isolate, rather than connect people. That being said, I believe that technology is a tool that can be used either correctly or incorrectly. Quite frankly, if students are isolated from one another through technology, then the technology is not being used correctly. In fact, students can collaborate with technology, even face-to-face. There are definitely possible negative consequences with the use of technology, but the possible benefits of using technology are endless. Why should we be afraid to leverage something that students are already comfortable and knowledgeable in to help them learn? The bigger question is not whether or not teachers should use technology in the classroom, but “HOW” to use it most effectively for students of the 21st century.