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Can introducing technology in class sabotage learning?

An expert has warned that teachers and lecturers must be strategic about how they use technology…

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Technology is taking over our homes, our work environments and even education systems.

While there are many benefits to introducing technology in the classroom, there is also a downside.

The Independent Institute of Education’s Aaron Koopman says being cautious about the use of technology is particularly important at school level - where habits for lifelong learning are either adopted or abandoned.

“One of the most important areas of risk, is where technology hinders the development of social and collaborative skills. Collaboration and teamwork are global competencies and rely on the ability of learners to engage with others to reach shared outcomes,” he said in a statement.

Koopman says technology is a great tool for online engagement with people around the world, and document sharing.

But he stresses that “it is also critical to promote collaboration, which means teachers must ensure that the face-to-face engagement skills of young learners in particular are developed”.

ALSO READ: When is technology too much for your children?

Koopman adds that using technology has negative effects for both educators and learners.

“Another area of concern, is where the convenience (for educators) and addictiveness (for learners) of technology lead to a situation where it effectively replaces teachers, similar to home environments where screens become de facto babysitters,” he says.

One should not assume that children can learn independently via technology – particularly when it is not at all interactive or responsive, warns Koopman.

“The most effective way to use technology is to support, extend, reinforce and enhance teaching.”

There is a place in the classroom for technology, but Koopman says good real-life teachers should never be under-estimated.

“Excellent teachers stimulate interest, they create excitement in the classroom, they engage with learners and they broaden the thinking of learners. They are able to relate concepts and principles to learners and customise the learning experience to the needs of the individual learners who all have different styles,” he says. 

“Quality teaching is in fact technology independent – if schools genuinely believe in the centrality of teaching as the magic of a learning process they will make technology decisions that support learning and teaching, not undermine it.”


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