Articles Reaction

submitted by Cheryl Kuroda

 

After reading all three articles, "The Computer Delusion" by Todd Oppenheimer, "Why Aren't the Children Singing?" by Dr. David Thornburg, and "Plug & Play" by Dr. Lynell Burmark, I have chosen to react to the first two articles.

Being a technology coordinator at my school, I am always faced with decisions to make about technology and computer education. There are so many questions and issues to consider when making decisions in technology. Ultimately we want what is best for our students so they can be a contributing member of society. We want them to be prepared with the necessary skills in all facets of the curriculum so they are molded into a well-rounded individual.

Computer technology is exciting and can bring a wealth of information into the classroom. The Internet is an exciting tool which students can utilize to gather information. Yes, it can be fun but students need to know that this is simply a tool and as teachers we need to emphasize that it is just a means of gathering information and how we use this information is what is most important. Larry Cuban argues, "Schooling is not about information. It's getting kids to think about information. It's about understanding and knowledge and wisdom." It is very important that we teach and prepare our students with adequate thinking skills and not always do things because it is fun or easy. Another example is the use of computer assisted instructional softwares. Many are just fun and students just click to see movement and action. They don't think about how they get their information, but click and do because it is faster and fun.

What is frustrating is how we bridge the gap and how we get there. Funding, adequate up-to-date equipment, teacher inservice, are all critical to the big picture of having computer literate students. How do we deal with this? Technology is fast-paced and many schools have difficulty in keeping up with these needs.

It is evident that computerized learning forces teachers to adjust their teaching styles. CHANGE is always difficult and hard to do. As teachers we find ourselves always having to change our style of teaching. With these changes, inservice is necessary.

Jane David, a consultant who was hired by Apple Computer, states that teachers needed to change their classroom approach to what is commonly called "project-oriented learning." This was a popular way of teaching where the teacher acted as the facilitator and the students learned through doing. She found that what students learned "had less to do with the computer and more to do with the teaching. If you took the computers out, there would still be good teaching there." This tells me that it is the approach and teaching style that makes all the difference. You can have all the high-tech, up-to-date equipment in the classroom, but the delivery and approach that the teacher uses is what matters. This is so true in any area of study - math, music, shop, etc. Therefore, it is important that teachers be inserviced on how to integrate technology into their curriculum.

Delivery and using the computer as a tool is crucial. Kris Meisling feels that "people who use computers a lot slowly grow rusty in their ability to think." I understand how technological tools like the computer can be seen as a delusion. There are negative aspects but I feel that we need to deal with the positive and use it to our benefit. Computers are great and as a teacher, I don't know what I'd do without it. Technology is here to stay and how we use it is up to us, teachers and schools.

There are many sides to isssues. I would ask my faculty to read all three of the articles because it gives one a better insight and perspective from all different sides. "Why Aren't the Children Singing?" gives a scenario of an actual school situation and how lessons were structured. Technology or the computer lab should not be treated as a separate area of focus but should support the overall curriculum or activity in the classroom. I feel that we, as teachers, need to remember that technology is a "way" to teach and we should not teach technology in isolation.

Reading "The Computer Delusion" helps one to really think about issues pertaining to technology. It opens ones eyes to the real world and the problems facing technology. There is no easy answer but many things to think about for the betterment of our children.

As teachers and schools, we need to focus and put our perspectives in order. It is our responsibility to provide the necessary skills for our students to be technological literate in order for them to survive and become a contributing member of our global society.