On Tuesday May 18th, 2020, one of the best Great Ed Tech (G.E.T.*) debates was had. The topic ‘Technology in the Classroom Enhances Learning. On the pro side was @NSmith and @amandajebrace, and on the con side was @MattBresciani and @trevorkerr7 . Check out the ‘epicness’ (made up a new word nice) below.
The scouting for both sides led to a sharing of the pre-debate strategies for both sides. Whether it was debunking myths about the use of technology or examining the neuroscience of encoding, the combatants were coming in ready to rumble.
Let’s take a look at some of pre-bout predictions.
The ‘experts’ were predicting a landslide win for the pros with a heavy ed tech using crowd in the “Zoo ….m” tonight.
@amandajebrace and @NSmith came out swing first with a great narrative style (Great Use of Info from Mike Wesch) opening statement video, and making a statement of their own in matching three piece suits @MattBresciani and @trevorkerr7 (both never known to back away from a great debate) came ready to do battle with a great counter punch video. Let’s take a look a how the judges saw the opening salvos
- making connections
- anywhere and anytime
- the 4 Cs + a 5th Connection
- only the S in SAMR being used
Great videos made by both that really had the crowd into it (you could feel the tension fill the ‘Zoo …m’). After a brief timeout, the gloves came off in a no holds barred rebuttal.
- need to teach digital citizenship
- create a balance for students
- needs to be used with strong pedagogy
- need to become independent learners
- should we be ‘Googling’ everything
- losing relationships and conversations through the screen
- teacher still #1 factor in class
Great points were made by both sides and then the crowd started getting into it … reining down a barrage of questions such as accessibility, total class participation, remote versus regular classes, how are second language learners impacted, how does pedagogy play a roll, and how are learning styles being addressed. The debate moderator @courosa was firm but fair adding a variety of great points and references such as How the Ballpoint Pen Killed Cursive and Leave It In The Bag to add to the lively discussion. The final round was upon us and both sides did not disappoint.
- improved teacher / student relationships
- tech is just a tool
- open doors
- emphasize connections
- vehicle for learning
- will not replace good teaching
- can be transformational
- student voice
- tech compromises academic learning
- compromises cognitive modes
- not involve in finding the answer
- not taking a learning journey
- dominated by ‘dog fooding’ (big tech companies)
- tech leaders not sending own kids to high tech / tech heavy schools
It was a jim-dandy of a brew-hah-ha, but when the dust settled the results were in …
The cons put up one heckofva battle but in the end the pros hung on to the popular vote.
I really appreciated this battle. It would be tough for me to debate the cons as well, but it is an important exercise for all of us. The cons are important to recognize and acknowledge and there are many out there that have plead this case for many a year (the current situation has proved though that having teachers and students with technology skills and abilities is very important to learning). But the pros outweigh the cons for me personally and have for many years. Technology has enhanced the way I teach and the way my students learn. It’s not always pretty and that’s part of the journey too (learning is messy without or without tech … at least I think it is). I really wish there were more mandatory classes in the teacher education programs to help teachers become effective at using these tools. Even though students are ‘Digital Natives’ (a term I used to sort of agree with but now do not use this term or buy into it), they have a lot to learn about learning with technology. We need to prepare students for their future (and I’d argue present) and that involves teaching 21st Century Skills (which I am ready to drop the ’21st Century’ part). Being able to interact, create, and more with technology is part our society and isn’t part of education helping students prepare to succeed in society. Did they have these debates with the abacus or the TV/VCR Combo (good times when that cart rolled in)? I will leave you with this related article (which I think would be a great debate question in itself) https://edtechreview.in/trends-insights/insights/401-teachers-who-use-technology-replacing-teachers-who-dont I’d love to hear your comments on this or any other points in my blog.