The G.E.T.* Debate Round 1 – To Enhance or Not To Enhance That Is The Question

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.

‘Almost a 90% edge for the pro team at the start.’

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

Pros

  • making connections
  • anywhere and anytime
  • the 4 Cs + a 5th Connection

Cons

  • distraction
  • screentime
  • 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.

Pros

  • need to teach digital citizenship
  • create a balance for students
  • needs to be used with strong pedagogy
  • need to become independent learners

Cons

  • 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.

Pros

  • improved teacher / student relationships
  • tech is just a tool
  • open doors
  • emphasize connections
  • vehicle for learning
  • will not replace good teaching
  • can be transformational
  • accessibility
  • student voice

Cons

  • 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 Pros Ended with a 53%

The cons put up one heckofva battle but in the end the pros hung on to the popular vote.

Thanks @NSmith, @amandajebrace, @MattBresciani and @trevorkerr7 for a great start to the ‘Battle Royal’ known at the G.E.T. Debate.

Epilogue

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.

Thanks

6 thoughts on “The G.E.T.* Debate Round 1 – To Enhance or Not To Enhance That Is The Question

  1. Dean, I think you did a great job showing both sides of the argument and adding more relevant content and articles for teachers to consider moving forward. Furthermore, I think this post modeled what good teaching and lessons can do- create dialogue, help participants consider both sides, enhance perspective. I also think the best lessons end up adding more information and language to our initial points so that not only we understand the topic better, we understand how the topic is shaped by our perspective. This language and enhanced perspective can make informed decisions in our classrooms that will empower learning while being reflective on the tools that will best help us on the journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post Dean. I was giggling all the way through. One phrase you used that stuck with me is “Learning is messy”. I haven’t herd anything truer that this in a long time… It really is messy. In my opinion, this is a good thing because this when things get messy, they are memorable. When something doesn’t turn out the way we want, we learn from that and we adapt and change for the next time. Kids should live situations like this all the time. It helps build resilience, patience and tenacity. Bringing technology in the mix doesn’t change this. It just helps fill everyone’s toolbox with more tools.
    Thanks for making me reflect on this.

    Like

  3. Dean,

    Abacus and TV/VCR combo brought back memories and made me twitch! Days and days of counting on it and losing track! The combo was a hot item in our school which teachers “had to have”. Maybe that need to record all videos shown during he lunch hours stemmed from this combo!

    I appreciate your reflection, clearly summarized thoughts and how you shared your desire for students to be “ready” for the 21st century and confident with a variety of tech tools before they arrive at your high school doorstep! Thanks for sharing your innovative thoughts, links and ideas always.

    Like

  4. I really enjoyed reading this post. I found it to be very informative. I agree with your statement that “learning with or without technology is messy”. I have found this to be especially true now that one cannot teach without depending on technology in some way. Today I was instructing my students over google meet, and I was having them do an activity with the google extension Jam Board. After sharing the link with the students through the google chat, it was brought to my attention that they could not edit the document unless I sent each one of them an individual invite for the document. After sending everyone an invite, there were still students who could not edit the document. In the end some students simply had to answer the question in the chat feed rather than on the Jam Board. On a side note, I felt it was a good practice in patience for my grade 4 students. We ended with a conversation about how with technology there is a learning curve involved for everyone!

    Like

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