Week 11 – A1: A ‘classic’ debate

1 A, B -Jotting down some thoughts & Opening remarks

Daniel argues that in education there is the need of higher volume, consistent quality, lower cost.  This three fold quest is rarely achievable (mentions the example of open universities). “Most attempts to introduce media into education do not take advantage of technology’s strengths.” He acknowledges the failure of educators in harnessing the advantages that technology brings in educational settings.

Dr Kozma quotes from research which shows “that technology can make contributions to the quality of education that are both statistically significant and educationally meaningful.” He highlights that research ” conducted within the traditional educational paradigm and the uses of technology were fairly ordinary. ” He links this to the idea that through the use of technology, there can be  a shift in the educational system, I presume that he is referring to what we have seen in block 1 that the use of technology may help in the shift to a  more  learner/learning centred approach in education.

An interesting comment that caught my attention was made by bcgstanley about education preparing student for the real world and thus to ” ignore it (in the classroom) would be a grave error”. Daniel is acknowledging that technology has a place in educational settings but there are constraints which are difficult to overcome.  I somewhat agree with him as in the case of my school, various attempts have been made in giving educators access to technological tools but their use never reached what was expected. Yes, there are individuals which jump on the new innovations being proposed but what about the majority of teachers? For example in my school, an ‘elite’ group of teachers constantly using  interactive whiteboards,online space, LAN & Wifi access and laptops in their classrooms but the others are still lagging behind with some even lacking basic IT skills. Therefore, as proposed, the introduction of new technologies and new media in my school is adding little to the quality of most education.

Although with some reserves, at this point I’d vote in favour of Daniel’s proposition.

1 C – Rebuttals

Moderator – point 5:”Both Sir [John] and Dr Kozma were making the same statement, i.e. technology CAN make a difference in education. Sir John stated that he wished technology was used in a manner more enhancing to education but from his viewpoint it CURRENTLY is not being used in such a manner across the general field of “education.” Dr. Kozma said technology COULD make a difference and he then listed a number of requirements that were necessary for it to do so but at no time did he say that it CURRENTLY WAS making that difference broadly. And I must say I concur with each of them.”

Education should not just mean school or university but also home schooling and life long learning.

point 13 “We will see the kinds of impact we were all promised only when applications draw on the unique capabilities of technology, when teachers are trained to integrate technology into their teaching, and when they use technology to engage students in complex problem solving, creative thinking, and life-long learning. There are some indications that this is happening.”

Daniel – pt 26″technology will only make a significant difference if it can play to its strengths and create its own educational paradigm. I cited the world’s open universities as highly successful applications of technology. They are successful precisely because technologies — not necessarily all that advanced — were used to create a new educational system”

Daniel argues that technology are not there to substitute human contact, in fact they should be improving it “Our aim must be to expand access to education by using technology to create more effective interactions between human beings.” Thus TODAY I agree with Daniel’s motion.

Dr Kozma once again shares information about projects in which technological use made a difference in the learning of students. These projects are very interesting and agree with him that the use of “technology can make contributions to the quality of education that are both statistically significant and educationally meaningful” But as he point out “the well-trained teachers and their students in these studies who used the unique aspects of technology environments within restructured classrooms”

For me it is worthless buying skiing equipment as 1. Malta last saw snow in the Ice age and 2. I do not know how to ski ! Similarly Dr Kozma himself is acknowledging the need of having well-trained teachers within restructured classrooms. Therefore the implementation of technology needs to be done hand in hand with a shift in the pedagogy being used in educational settings and even a shift in the learner’s mentality of what learning really means.

A1d: Reading other comments

Don Knezek comments are somewhat striking as he focuses on the “metrics by which we judge the quality of education in this century”. He points out that the introduction of new technologies and media is adding quality as it is empowering learners with a better collaborative (even distant) environment, even having access to more significant research online.

As a number of posts outline, the ideas put forward by Daniel & Dr Kozma are somewhat similar were it is agreed that the introduction of new technologies and media can add to the quality of education.

Later ‘speakers’ might have an advantage over previous ones in the sense that they can evolve their reasoning after reflecting on what has already been said. On the other hand it might be more difficult to side with one camp whilst disagreeing with the other.

A1e: Reading the closing speeches

Proposition:

“education for technology and technology for education.Many contributors remind us that in today’s world it is important that people be taught how to use information and communications technologies. I absolutely agree. But educating people to use technology is not what the motion is about. It refers to using technology to educate people, which is different.”

Putting the motion to the side he actually agrees that there is an important convergence point where technology can do better even if it has disappointed so far.

Opposition:

“Teachers all over the world are using technology to change their teaching.” Isn’t this a sweeping statement ?

interesting quote “their students are taking advantage of the technology to apply school subjects to solve difficult real-world problems, to work in distributed teams on complex tasks, to think critically, and to create new knowledge, new products, and new cultural artifacts. These students are using technology to learn the skills needed for a knowledge economy and an information society.”

“…change is currently slower and less dramatic than any of us would want…” Here he is also showing a moderate tone, maybe to catch more votes from the undecided 😉

The traditional role of a moderator is that of giving par opportunities to both sides with impartiality. From the moderator’s comments available in this debate I believe that the moderator used his role to pinch both sides in giving his own input without taking a specific side (although at times he seemed to be contrary to the motion).

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