"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Technology in the Classroom - The Real Deal

The question of how technology inside the classroom really helps in learning is an important question. This question can be addressed at various levels. One is in terms of enabling. Technology can make new schemes possible. Take, for example, clickers. It is a new way of collecting responses from students. It can be made anonymous so that even the shiest student in the class can participate. A teacher can easily get feedback via quick quiz questions and feel the pulse of the entire class. Talks from other speakers as well as demonstrations can be presented inside a classroom. Conference calls can be made. There are other examples. Enabling, however, is only one factor that needs to be considered in evaluating the use of technology inside a classroom. A second important factor is efficiency, measured in terms of the results placed against the resources used. With this factor, money is crucial. The costs need to be compared. The following is a nice table and graphic that nicely illustrate a comparison between an old fashioned textbook and an IPad (These are downloaded from Lee Wilson's blog):

A comparison between costs dramatically shows that the old fashioned textbook is so much more affordable. Even with a cheaper device as seen from the above figure, the costs for new technology are still higher than a textbook. One may claim that errors in a textbook are a lot easier to correct or update. There are good textbooks and there are low quality textbooks. Proofreading and reviewing learning materials do not really depend on the medium. Updating a textbook does go through expensive printing, but new editions come with revised content and the costs of developing and updating the content are likewise independent of the medium of delivery. One common mistake that leads to the notion that technology is cheaper involves not placing a price on content. Everything is really just a medium. The content is not free and probably the most important factor unless a school system is satisfied with poor or erroneous content.

The last factor, the most important of all, is asking whether technology enables better learning. To this question, there have been several posts in this blog that already tackled this issue. You could find this by clicking on the "Technology in Classroom" label on the right sidebar of this blog or by visiting the following link, Techonology in the Classroom posts.

1 comment:

  1. The last factor, the most important of all, is asking whether technology enables better learning. technology and learning