What educational problem does technology solve?

Technology Crap

This morning’s newspaper has an advertisement that shows bored business people in a conference room. The man on the left is looking down; the man in the center has his head on the table; and the woman on the right looks disgusted.

Beneath the picture the text reads:

Don’t let an outdated conference room limit the impact your organization can have on all of its audiences.

Cut the Crap

Nobody in a boring meeting says, “This meeting needs modern technology to have a greater impact on me and our audiences.” But that is the “pitch” in the ad.

And that is the same “pitch” educators make when they argue that disinterested students become interested, when teachers use smart boards instead of chalkboards, when students read ipads instead of books, or when computer-based simulations replace role plays.

Just like business people who want a shared purpose for their meeting, students want a shared purpose for their learning. Purpose makes learning relevant and important, not the tools that are used.

When educators say schools need modern technology to generate student interest, they really mean students who are interested in the purpose of a lesson benefit from using modern technology. Those who are not interested won’t care what tools are used — just like the people in the newspaper ad.

If modern technology improves the interest of those who are already interested in learning, what educational problem does it solve?


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