Is Educational Technology Useful in the Classroom? [666호]
Introduction Technology is now in the classroom. Proponents of educational technology cite an array of advantages like more effective teaching and making students more tech savvy. But critics say not so fast, claiming the use of educational technology can lead to digital addiction and failure to teach students the basics of studying and learning.
Constructive Debater 1 Henry Technology has improved daily life for humans, and promises to do so again in the classroom. Educational technology allows students to hear lectures online from anywhere in the world, use interactive programs that promote learning, and boost independent learning. It also makes students more tech savvy, a skill that will prove crucial for their future. The proliferation of e-textbooks and e-classes will also lead to lower costs for textbooks and tuition. And such technology could make learning more fun as many students find the traditional lecture and textbook method boring.
Constructive Debater 2 Ashley Educational technology’s disadvantages outweigh the advantages. At a time of rising youth addiction to digital screens, using tablet PCs or mobile phone apps for studying could worsen the digital addiction problem and make students lazier. Technology seems more for entertainment, not education. So students are more likely to use a book to learn but a tablet to play games or use social media. And studies have shown that those who take online courses have a higher chance of failing and dropping out, and are less likely to benefit from them.
Rebuttal Debater 1 Henry Nothing in life lacks a bad side, and educational technology is no exception. The threat of digital addiction and students merely using their laptops, smartphones, or tablets to play games or surf social media and the web is real. Nonetheless, that overlooks the benefits of such technology such customizing education for students to boost learning, teaching life skills like sending email or starting a blog, and getting comfortable with tech earlier than previous generations. Plus just because something promising has a bad side doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be used.
Rebuttal Debater 2 Ashley Silicon Valley executives, the champions of tech, tend to send their children to traditional no-tech schools. Isn’t that telling? And the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in a 2015 report said the best-performing education systems, such as those in East Asia, are “very cautious about using technology in their classrooms," adding, "Those students who use tablets and computers very often tend to do worse than those who use them moderately." High achieving students such as those in Korea and Shanghai, China, the report said, have lower computer use at school.
Judge’s Comments Both sides presented strong arguments for their cases, but Ashley wins the nod in this debate. Henry seems to focus on what education technology promises instead of what it delivers. Ashley provides data that effectively backs her argument.
D. Peter Kim Copy Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
1. What examples of educational technology did Henry mention in his argument?
2. What are the disadvantages of educational technology according to Ashley?
3. Why did Ashley win the debate?
1. What does the 2015 report say about high-achieving students?
2. Do you agree with the use of e-textbooks and e-classes? Why? Why not?
3. Why did Henry lose the debate?