Say what, now?!?
Well, I love...er...expanding my knowledge by reading those stories on MSN that I deem worthy of my time (oh, alright, fine! I was procrastinating - but reading informative articles makes me feel a little better about it than just cracking open Harry Potter...). Anyways, so I see a link to a story titled, "Are students in the digital age getting dumber?" I guessed it had something to do with technology's role in education, which it did - it is a pretty hot topic - has been for centuries.
But I digress.
The article, "Teaching with Tech: Does it Work?" basically focuses on potential negative impacts of technology on the learning process. (Loosely) citing research studies and quoting teachers, professors and authors in the field, the author does try to present some positive support for technology in education, but weakly. More prominent are statements such as, "[Technology] causes a stunting of imagination. A narrowing of mental capacity" (Oppenheimer) and "the language skills of younger students are suffering because of constant use of text messaging and instant messaging" (the latter under the section heading, "OMG! My Paper RoX!").
Even when there IS positive support, it is hidden among poor grammar - thus my warning about double negatives! It is a serious problem, people!! I mean, seriously, when you are trying to support something and trying to sound halfway intelligent about it, particularly being a teacher 'n all, would you choose to phrase an argument, "Kids are drawn to technology and it’s not wise to not incorporate that into how they are taught,” or, hit number two, "I would never not allow a student to use any resource because it made their life easier."
So relatively weak arguments become even weaker because the reader has to stop and figure out exactly what it is you are trying to say. I am still scratching my head.
The point, though, that I really intended to argue is that it's about moderation, people! It's really not about the technology, at all, is it? It's about how you USE it! Define the boundaries - the appropriate use of technology versus the inappropriate use of technology. But, heavens, don't ignore it! It can be a useful tool!
Furthermore, define "dumber" for me. How about it being a different kind of intelligence? In that spirit, work with it, not against it. Again, technology in education does not magically make everything better and everyone smarter, but I hardly think it's fair to say technology is making students dumber. And it certainly isn't going anywhere. I may not go so far as to agree with the teacher who says, "I don’t think it’s a bad thing for students to be dependent on technology" (being overly dependent on anything raises red flags, personally), but she does seem to be on the right track incorporating it, using it to boost motivation and interest, teaching students how to use it in the "real world," even catering to different learning styles (I, for one, rather benefit from taking notes on my laptop).
Again, people - it's not what you've got - it's how you use it. And that goes for technology as well as the English language...