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Economist Debate on Technology in the Classroom

 
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d.



Joined: 13 Apr 2005
Posts: 12
Location: Nagano, Japan

PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2007 11:58 pm    Post subject: Economist Debate on Technology in the Classroom Reply with quote

The Economist started an online debate today (October 20) on technology in the classroom that I think some might find interesting.
Quote:
Proposition: The continuing introduction of new technologies and new media adds little to the quality of most education


The two opening statements both make compelling cases and some of the many comments are very thoughtful. The votes for and against the proposition are very close too. The debate and voting closes on the 26th.

I wrote a blog post about how some of the issues brought up in the debate on technology in the classroom relate to online language learning, which is my specialty. Rather than repeat myself, you can read about it there.
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Matty



Joined: 18 Oct 2006
Posts: 52
Location: _ Barcelona, Spain

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This debate has been going on for aeons! OHPs, cassette players/recorders, calculators, the list goes on...

The Economist's debate is attempting to stir up some reactions and get more people to register on their site.

Neither of the points of view addressed the most important factor - content.

Computers are just another new way of presenting materials to students. If the content of the presentation is poor or the presentation is badly organised, we can hardly blame the technology. After all, we don't blame cars for people's bad driving.

I think one of the points raised is valid though. That the education sector is a long way behind the technology and even though the students' expectations are high, the resources are often very poor. The estimated cost of producing effective eLearning resources in the USA is around $10,000 per hour of material, so this is hardly surprising.

I think this is frustrating for students, of whom many have had very positive learning experiences from 3rd party turorials or interative CD-ROMs.

I think there is something else underlying these debates and why they persist in the education sector. I believe that the majority of teachers are either directly opposed to IT for education or at least actively indifferent to it. Teachers have to learn to take CALL as seriously as they do books and CDs. They also have to learn to asess which programs/websites are good and which ones aren't, in th same way that they do with books.

Time to quit whining about new technology, put asides your ill-informed prejudices and learn how it can be productive for your students!

That said, the software developers have got a long way to go. There's very few effective packages out there.
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