Criticism of recent EdTalk on technology in education

Smartphone with Facebook on screen beside notebooks and pen

One such area is technology in education. There seems to be two streams of thought at play: 1) Games and technology are related to cyber bullying and addiction, and therefore should not be discussed in an inclusive context, or 2) that all games are the same, and therefore no value can be found in any of it.

The former sentiment was conveyed in the title of a recent article by Chris Davis as he covered the EdTalk event. Mobile is notoriously conflated with all technology of the time, and while Mr Davis was accurately elucidated the concerns of the parents and panelists present, he sang the same tune of needing to ‘protect’ the youth from the ‘hazards’ of technology.

I may be alone on this, but I wanted to hear about how we are using technology to improve our students’ education.

But my gripe is not with Mr Davis. It is with the organisers of forums like this that give educators space to air their grievances and restate problems and revisit solutions that every man and his dog has already considered. These powerful, influential people agree to sit down in a discussion that is completely unproductive: reinforcing the aversion parents have towards technology and largely deepening the distrust of it.

How, for instance, is it revolutionary for a school to suggest students using social media to arrange study groups? Is this really meant to show anything other than the complete exhaustion that educators have had with trying to stem the encroachment of mobile devices within the school environment?

Something that was bolder were the assertions made by one panelist that the tendency of students to overuse social media is likely a reflection of the of the involvement parents themselves have with the medium. Too right – but parents won’t quit Facebook any more than their kids will.

What we need are innovative ideas about how we can create a system that is mutually beneficial. About how we can use games for the good of education, so that we can show parents that we as educators have questioned, considered and innovated as a response to the changing times.

Sadly, the same old pot of complaints just had a different set of cooks stirring it.

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