I recently came across an article by George Couros that dealt with technology as it relates to learning. He asked the question as to whether our students are better with technology than prior generations, or rather the technology is easier to use than before. He gave the example of the iPhone, which does not have a separate user manual, but rather has an interface that is so easy to use that the general population can figure it out. This is a stark contrast to the former Macintosh computers or desktop computers 25 years ago, that required a certain level of programming to navigate or modify applications.
We know that technology allows us to do many exciting things that were not previously feasible to accomplish. This can have a positive impact on learning and can lead to acquiring more skills; however, this is not automatically the case. For example, the majority of our students are comfortable doing presentations with tools such as PowerPoint and Prezi. These can certainly enhance a presentation by adding flashy visuals and audio, all the while making the presentation more “fun” and engaging.
While I believe that these can be positive, the content and quality of the presentation itself is still more vital to the learning process and ought to remain the primary focus. As technology replaces simple tasks, we want to challenge our students to think on a deeper level, rather than falling into the trap of allowing technology to reduce our ability to think all together. As with everything in life, we must strive to find a balance and technology is no exception. I particularly liked George Couros’ closing line that reminds us that, “Technology will not replace great teachers, but technology in the hands of great teachers can be transformational.”
At Trinity, we continue to look for ways to enhance our students’ learning through technology, but certainly do not want to depend on it solely to teach our students.
J-D Lussier, Principal