New Technology – Good or Bad?

I know I’m a technophobe at heart. I would much rather read a piece of paper than a screen and talk to people face to face than via email. I find it hard to keep up with the pace of change and the way that it seems to be escalating is actually quite scary.

Some parts of it are great. The fact that there is an online community out there, of which this is a tiny part, is a brilliant resource. The way that ideas can be shared instantly across the world is nothing short of amazing. However I do think that there is a downside to all of this.

The first is money. Schools are being divided more than ever by the haves and the have nots. There are schools using itouches to engage children and ever more sophisiticated programmes to enhance their teaching. And then there are the others that are still operating on the single classroom computer and weekly access to a suite or equivalent to deliver the ICT curriculum (no prizes for guessing which camp I’m in). Books were expensive but not as prohibitively so as computers and their software. There is no way that schools like ours can keep up with some schools that I know of. The experiences of children in the two sets of schools will be totally different and I wonder what that will mean for them in the long term. Our children start at a disadvantage already and I fear it will get worse for them despite our best efforts.

And then there are the bigger long term effects and their implications. There is already talk of people’s minds being altered to work in different ways because of technology. The idea that people will not be able to concentrate on one thing for any length of time as our brains become more used to browsing lots of different sites at once is slightly scary.

I read an article today which I thought was fascinating.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/societybookreviews/7942896/One-Hundred-Fears-of-Solitude-by-Hal-Crowther-extract.html

Hal Crowther talks about the effects of modern technology on American children and teenagers and the news doesn’t seem to be good.

I wonder where we’re headed. And whether I want to go there!

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2 thoughts on “New Technology – Good or Bad?

  1. emmaldawson

    I was discussing the same thing about the divide between schools technology availability the other day with some other teachers from twitter and on that I agree with you; the school I’m moving to has 10 very old laptops which each class gets to use one day per week, and 1 class computer. I would dearly love to be in the camp that had the ipods/ipads/other tech to play with but unfortunately my school is struggling to replace those 10 laptops with new ones. The divide is not just down to equipment though, it’s also down to teachers’ ability and willingness to learn how to use it. There are those that are willing and able who are getting better and better and leaving the rest behind – something needs to be done about both types of divide.

    However, I’m not sure that article is the best source of evidence to say that technology is bad.Technology should not be used as a scapegoat; the entire attitudes of whole nations have changed over the past few decades but that doesn’t mean technology is the cause, it may just amplify the effect. Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I may be more inclined to believe it if he’d made greater use of scientific studies rather than anecdotal evidence. For me personally I find technology allows me to be more creative and opens my mind to ideas that I’d never thought possible.

    1. Totally agree with what you say Emma. I just posted the link as the article did make me think and it isn’t very often that you see anything querying whether the use of new technology in education may be negative. The point about teacher’s skills is a good one. Years ago the government spent billions on trying to upskill teachers in ICT. A lot of the money was totallywasted though. I try to keep up but am very conscious that I am falling behind quite quickly.

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