Thursday, June 28, 2012

Role of Technology in Education


“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” I came across this quote recently in a review of one of John Maxwell’s outstanding books on leadership and I began to think about the change that our students, teachers, and parents are facing daily in the world of education.

As I write this article, and the sun begins to rise over Oconee County, the dawn of the day brings with it much change. Yet, will we embrace that change or fight it? We will allow our realities to stretch or limit our understanding of the traditions of the past? Is all of this change good or is some change simply change for change sake? Where do you stand?

A unifying commonality that all of us share is that we attended school as children and young adults. Thus, we all have a basic understanding and experience of what our students do when they enter their classrooms. Yet, the classrooms of today are vastly different than those of years gone by.

One area that has changed drastically is technology. A majority of our students do not know a world without smart phones, laptop computers, and iPads at their fingertips. My daughter, who will be two in September, is already proficient with many of these items and understands that they are the key to her new found obsession with Elmo! Yet, I can remember a world that had multiple households on a single phone line known as a “party line.” I am still unsure as to where the party was taking place.

I can remember a world with no cell phones, no home computers, and a television that had three channels and no remote control. I can recall registering for classes at the University of Georgia with 30,000 of my closest friends utilizing a scantron sheet and a chalkboard with course listings and numbers. I can remember pay phones. When is the last time you saw one of those?

Some would argue that these simpler times were better. My goal is not to debate the pace of our world, but to review its reality and see how it impacts our students. Thus, my questions this week will focus on technology in our schools.

Is technology a distraction or enhancement to the learning process?

What is the role of technology in education?

Should students be allowed to bring their personal devices to school?

I want to know what you think. Please email me at jbranch@oconeeschools.org with your thoughts.

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