Who’s Running the Classroom?

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Are we using technology to work for us, or are we working for technology? Technology has changed, faster than curricula or teachers can keep up with it. Technology presents new challenges to how we process information and how we interact as social beings.
As we hurtle after the ever-expanding uses for technology in schools, trying to keep up with our students’ love affair with this mode of entertainment and information gathering, we are faced with huge implications for knowledge, truth, and emotional and social learning. Technology can’t replace authentic human interaction. The isolation that results from sitting in front of a screen must be tempered with group discussion, application, and assessment. Information obtained from media sources has to be distilled, evaluated, and made useful. The teacher, technology, and students need to operate as a cohesive unit. This takes ongoing teacher development, student monitoring, and new curricula that uses technology to enhance learning, not to replace it. Technology is constantly changing and so must our curricula.
Yes, it is important to know where to find answers, but it is equally important to know how to critically assess those answers and to understand the underlying foundation of the knowledge in order to generate the same answer in the absence of technology.
Think of calling 911 and reaching emergency personnel who learned CPR online. They might have learned the principles to save you, but do you really want to be the first person they actually try to save? Positive learning environments are interactive; teachers become learners, and students become teachers. All of this interaction takes place in dynamic classrooms. Although technology should be part of the learning process, it should not be the sole instrument for teaching.

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