This week we started the Great Ed Tech Debate – and let me tell you. Those debaters came out swinging. The topics were Technology in the classroom enhances learning and schools should stop teaching “Google-able” facts. The topics allowed for great conversation within the class and the presenters were able to bring forward arguable facts for both of sides of the debates.
Technology in the Classroom Enhances Learning
Starting with the first debate, the two debaters brought forward some really fantastic points that made me sit back and think about what is considered “enhancing” the learning in the classroom. In the end, I had to say that I agreed because of the points that were made during the debate, both by the lead debater and my fellow classmates. Some points that were brought up were “improves engagement among students, encourages individual learning and provides opportunities for collaborative work”. (Debater Logan)
One of the readings that were provided for us to read was about some benefits that came from using technology in the classroom. One of the points made in the article was enhancing engagement by “provides different opportunities to make learning more fun and enjoyable in terms of teaching same things in new ways” (SchoolJotter)
On the other hand, there were some great points made on the opposing side, such as “it is expensive and always changing, overstimulating, and it allows us to be over-reliant on technology” (debater Jocelyn) and the points made from a reading that was provided. One point made was the changes to learning. The reading talks about how technology is taking over in so many different areas of work – such as in factories or phone operators – when or will technology take over teaching students as well? “Research shows that experienced teachers are better at teaching with technology than new teachers because they have better developed classroom management skills.” (ECOO)
Schools Should Stop Teaching “Google-able” Facts
The second debate for the night was one that caused me to sit and think about what the definition of “Google-able” facts meant. In the end, I ended up agreeing with the statement, based on the arguments that were brought forward by the debater. In one of the readings that was provided, the author says “our schools are failing our children, leaving them unable to think critically and contribute to an innovation economy.” (Huffington Post) The debater brought forward some good points such as “teaching deeper understanding, teaching creativity, common sense, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence, as well as adding new and relevant skills like teaching about taxes” (Debater Sarah S).
Of course, in any debate, there was an opposing side. I had originally agreed, as we should not stop, without any pre-text or information. The debater’s main arguments were “how do we know that they are learning accurate information and do they actually know? Did they learn anything?” (debater Sarah M). Another topic of conversation and in one of the readings that were provided for us was about the idea of memorization of facts and information. “Knowing facts helps us to place other problems into context and access higher order thinking skills. If the facts we have memorised are accurate and accessible they can be used in order to give context to other situations, if we cannot recall these facts we are unable to place new problems into context.” (The Guardian)