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The question is: Should tech be used to facilitate learning as well as other modes of teaching? YES!!! Children learn in different ways. Some students think of technology as another way to express themselves.
While we want to consider which technology works best with a particular lesson, students are living in a digital renaissance. Being able to adapt to new technology is a skill they will need to learn. We should have some core software that is emphasized frequently, like Word or VoiceThread, so that students become skilled with it. But we should also occasionally choose to work with something just because it is new.
The most important variable in learning is the relationship between student and teacher. Yes, technology grabs students' attention and helps them learn, but that's not enough without that trusted adult. For a variety of reasons, including economic and social pressures for material things, parents have less and less time for their children. Today's parents were the first generation of latchkey children. Many of of these parents grew up without adequate models for parenting. Teachers take up the emotional slack in children's lives and provide leadership in values, character development, citizenship and academics. Technology can't do what teachers do best, care deeply about all aspects of students and foster their growth over time.
At one point 8 years ago, our school was considered top of the line. Now with no new equipment, and no district tech to work on the old computers, technology is a joke. Our district thinks everything is fine, but they don't visit classrooms to experience otherwise. There is no use using the latest technology unless there is enough working equipment for student follow through.
Technology for the sake of tech is wrong, and does a dis-service to the times when it's valuable. Training, integration, planning and collaboration makes technology work- not it's existence.
The question of; Is technology-based lesson alway's best? is the wrong question to ask. Does it support the objective, goals and student learning?
It is up to the teacher to decide what those goals are. Technology should play a prominent role in learning, when it's appropriate.
We live in a technology-based world, so using technology should be second nature. However, just because something CAN be done, it need not necessarily BE done. Learning should involve interaction and collaboration. If technology enhances that, then go for it. If, on the other hand, a quiet face-to-face discussion is called for, it is much better to interact in person. Social skills are sharpened by body language, unlike online discussions which sharpen critical thought.
Teachers have many decisions to make as they prepare a lesson or unit. Technology is not a silver bullet. Quality interaction, consistent ongoing formative assessment and engaging, learning students are a higher priority than latest technology. If those goals can be met with the latest technology, then by-all-means, use it.