Sunday, March 29, 2009

February-March Summary (Technology and Teaching)

The topic of Technology and Teaching did bring out some strong feelings and some really great ideas. The article that sparked this discussion suggested that “skills in critical thinking and analysis” had declined as a result of the use of technology in learning environments. Now that is a pretty bold statement and a very general one. Are all forms of technology to blame? That hardly seems likely as technology is a multifaceted tool that has many applications. So what could it be about technology that could result in these findings? Our readers commented and their comments fell into 3-4 categories.

  • Five of the 17 responders believed that their residents and students had “lost skill”. Three of the responder thought this might be attributed to “speed” of connectivity and searches. According to our readers’ thinking, students and residents quickly search using key words and don’t think things through or critically analyze. They have an answer before they have really thought out the question. I tend to agree with this point of view. Google anything and you will receive multiple answers. Analyzing the quality of those answers is another story. This however does not mean that technology is a villain. The tool is not to blame. Could we as teachers expect more from our learners? Should we teach them how to use the technology tools that science has given the? Yes, of course.

  • Another group seemed generally “miss-trustful” of too much technology.

  • The third group of responders really explored technology as a tool. As Neil so aptly stated, “technology gets bad press when it might just be the teaching method that is at fault” Often, technology is just a “delivery method”. Of course it can be more and we have to monitor how we use technology as a part of our repertoire of methods and tools. If critical thinking is what we want, then we need to consider how best to stimulate our learners to analyze.