Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Save the kittens!

Guns don't kill people. People kill people. And every time you use a double negative, God kills a kitten.

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...


Jael said...

Wow, okay, at first I was going to disagree with you a bit but then I started to read the article and now I totally see what you were saying... I only got through the second paragraph and I was already angry on two point. 1. Using Wikipedia does not mean that a student is only learning how to use a computer and not learn anything - easy fix, don't allow anything from Wikipedia, make them use a book source, duh! 2. Wtf is this! "...when you paint with a mouse instead of using a paint brush...you develop bad habits," says Tom Oppenheimer. I am highly offended by that remark since that is my career.... As computer artists we DO learn how to do "real" artwork on paper, but don't you DARE try to tell me computer art isn't art is is a "bad habit"!!! Okay sorry... that's out of my system.

Anyway, I was going to argue the point how I do think with all this text messaging and instant messaging kids are learning terrible spelling, but isn't that what school is for? To correct their spelling and teach them how to do things the "proper" way? I text and I instant message and I can still write a damn good paper if I do say so myself! I think once more it comes down to everyone blaming something/someone else for the demise of the education system and not wanting to take responsibility for our children! Sheesh.

And yes Karen, double negatives are like nails on a chalk board. Put that right up there with George W. Bush's "in other words". Heaven help us all.

Jael said...

Okay, now I finished reading the article and I have one more comment. New Zealand, you're stupid. My teachers knew short hand and they were never allowed to use shorthand on tests. Okay, two comments, I agree Karen, it's bad to be dependent on anything. Virtual tours are cool though! But honestly if you don't have an interest in it does technology really make a difference? If I hate biology and don't care about cells, will I care more if they are digitized for me? Probably not. Ew Biology..

Jael said...

P.S. Again

I laughed so hard at "And every time you use a double negative, God kills a kitten" - so funny. :D

karen said...

heeheehee - glad you enjoyed it ;0)
In other school news, have you heard that they just closed one Denver school and are planning to ultimately close about 25% more?? "low enrollment" ...

Jael said...

Wow, no, I hadn't heard that. That's odd, low enrollment and Diana has another 50 students in her class when it holds 30... something is wrong with this picture.