The Great EdTech Debate: Episode 1 – Does Technology Enhance Classroom Learning

In our EC&I 830 course, one of the assignments that we have is to participate in a weekly EdTech debate. This activity is meant to bring enriched conversation regarding topics revolved around the use of technology in education. For the first debate, the two teams debated whether technology enhances learning in the classroom. I started off the debate by wishing both team good luck over twitter. Follow me @MrSkylerHart

Prior to starting the debate, we are asked to vote on our own opinion of the topic being discusses. The follow image depicts the date from those results.

PreVote: 89.3% in favour, 10.7% opposed

Agree

We saw @amandajebrace and @NSmith advocate about how technology enhances learning in the classroom. To begin, focused on the point that technology transcends the classroom. Nancy explained that the use of technology now allows us to open up our classroom to new learning opportunities, and for alternative methods of learning. She stated that technology allows us to engage students and deepen the learning. The alternative point was that technology is a great way to connect with others. Amanda discusses the 4C’s in 21st century learning, which you can read further about here. Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, and Communication are the 4C’s, but the argument was made for a fifth C to be added. Connection. We can use technology to connect the students to the material we are learning.

The 5th C… Connection

There are multiple times throughout the day where I have used technology to help students enhance their learning. Whether is be through watching documentaries, using Desmos for online graphing, or completing online research, technology is something that helps students out. But this only works when I direct students in how to use the technology they are using appropriately and effectively. Without sufficient reasoning behind the use of technology, the reduce the enhancement it brings to the classroom.

Disagree

On the alternative approach, @trevorkerr7 and @MattBresciani argued that technology does not enhance learning in the classroom. The main point that these gentlemen was that technology creates a distraction for students. Trevor provides examples such as using social media, listening to music, playing online games, and watching noneducational videos on YouTube. Matt added that the use of technology in schools bombard students with screen time. With the increase of technology in today’s society, more and more people are exposed to can cause many learners to become dependent on technology, resulting in an addition to technology. So lets MEGA (MAKE EDUCATION GREAT AGAIN).

Technology Does Not Enhance Learning

I agree with Matt and Trevor that technology can be a distraction in the classroom, but I would suggest that it is a distraction when there is nothing that monitors the use of the technology in the first place. As a teacher, it is our responsibility to make sure that students are using the technology for the intended reason it is meant to be used for.

The Results

PostVote: 58.3% in favour, 41.7% opposed

Conclusion

In all, I am am not shocked that a majority of voters still believe that technology enhances learning in a classroom. However, I will give credit to Matt and Trevor. Although they did not have the majority of voters, they were able to convince 31% of voters to change their opinions on technology. I believe that the underlying fact to this debate stems the term efficiently. How efficient are we with incorporating technology into the classroom. Both side admitted that technology in the classroom only enhances learning when it is embedded appropriately, and with a purpose. Those who try to incorporate technology into the classroom as a part of a list of things they need to complete are not using technology to its greatest potential. Curtis Bourassa mentioned that technology needed to have a purpose behind it… it is a vehicle to learn. Technology can transport a students ability to learn, but without proper direction and teaching, a student can be guided down the wrong path.

For a full recap of the entire debate, fell free to watch the video below.

4 thoughts on “The Great EdTech Debate: Episode 1 – Does Technology Enhance Classroom Learning

  1. Skyler, thanks for a great summary of the debate. I agree with you that both teams did a great job at defending their points of view. The word “efficient” is a great one to use when it comes to talking about this subject. Technology is important in our world and as teachers, we need to be responsible in how and when we use it in the classroom. Amy, in her blog post, said “Technology is A tool, not THE ONLY tool”! Like every other tool that is available to us when teaching, we need to learn how to use them in a pedagogical manner, so it benefits the students learning and well being in class and in society.

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  2. Skyler, I appreciate your emphasis on efficiency and purpose, and I strongly agree! Without purpose, technology can turn from a great tool to enhance learning into a disaster/distraction quite quickly. It makes me wonder if there should be more EdTech classes in the undergrad program, as required classes, to better prepare teachers that aren’t as comfortable with technology (such as myself) on how to efficiently use technology in their own classrooms? Just a thought.

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  3. Great response Skyler, you have provided a great overview of the debate. One thing that I think we need to do as educators is to ensure proper digital citizenship is taught so we can move away from monitoring our students utilizing the technology. I understand that is in a perfect world scenario, so I see some situations where monitoring would take place. Hopefully proper digital citizenship and responsible use policies can limit the monitoring we have to do as educators.

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  4. Great summary, Skyler! I have to be honest… that debate had me so nervous, but I am really proud of how it went and how it pushed me out of my comfort zone! It was a lot of fun to debate the topic, and Matt and Trevor brought forward some really great points. You made a great conclusion by saying: “Technology can transport a students ability to learn, but without proper direction and teaching, a student can be guided down the wrong path.” As educators, we need to be aware of how we are integrating technology so that it empowers students and gives purpose to the classroom. Thanks for a great read!

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