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Argument: It takes time to integrate and optimize new technologies in education systems

Support, quotes, and links

  • Pedro H-R. (online debater). Economist Debate Series: Education. October 16th, 2007 – “There’s a story that a Chinese diplomat, sometime around the 1980s or 1990s, was asked his opinion of the French Revolution. ‘Too soon to tell,’ he replied. The proposition argues that enough time has passed to allow us to assess if the investments in educational technologies to date have yielded an adequate ‘return on investment.’ That’s questionable. Economic efficacy cannot be the only or at times even the major criterion to assess the status of a major change process. What the availability of modern information and communications technologies (ICTs) have certainly accomplished is raising [t]he questions about how learners can learn best´┐Ż-supported by which pedagogical practices (lecture and recitation, memorization, group work, production, performances) and resources (teachers, books, writing tools, computers, etc). Dr. Kozma correctly points out that there is a wealth of research (plus even more anecdotal evidence) that tells us what are the conditions needed to ‘maximize’ the benefits of the availability of technologies in learning environments. What the history of education tells us, furthermore, is that changing almost anything in schools as social institutions takes a long time–even blackboards took years to be widely accepted and be taken for granted in classrooms.”
  • Acerview54 (online debater). Economist Debate Series: Education. October 16, 2007 – “I am the founder and executive director of the Kindersite Project an online resource used in 17,100 schools in 150 countries for the introduction to technology to very young children and introduction to English (1st and 2nd language). In my opinion, we are still in the opening phase of technology in education. In this phase many mistakes have and are being made because we have primarily addressed technology from the standpoint of access to hardware for teachers and students, rather than researching and building relevent and appropriate content suitable for learning. In fact, the power and limitations of technology are still being defined. A good example of this is how Online courses have proven their limitations. I am involved with an institution in Navarre, Spain who have overcome the limitations of online courses by building Blended Learning platforms for language courses that integrate successfully the best online elements with traditional classroom elements, for adults. These courses combine the motivational pressure of the tutor and class group with the dynamism and flexibility of online courses and have resulted in improved results. The Kindersite is being used to introduce technology and language primarily as a motivational and engaging tool that is fun, through content that addresses the targeted user at a suitable level. Thus criticism of technology in education can certainly be leveled but must be put in perspective of the revolution that is taking place as technology shapes our new society. Under no circumstances can we we afford to not teach students how to use technology, this is the world of work and leisure they will be living within. What is missing is the attention to educational content that uses the full power of technology that is available, and is not just an adaptation of existing offline methods.”

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