Technology as the teacher of the future?

Annabel Draaijers and Rosa Schiavone

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5 thoughts on “Technology as the teacher of the future?

  1. Nagua El Sabagh and Iris Bakkum says:

    The projects discussed by Annabel and Rosa have good intentions and interesting ideas. It is beneficial to introduce technologies, also in the developing countries, as they are crucially important tools in advancing the educational system. What is more, it allows students to participate in the “modern world” and gives students the opportunity to develop digital skills that are increasingly important in the economic sphere. Furthermore, we are fairly optimistic about technologies as additional tools for teaching in the Western world, whereas in developing countries it can create some initial disadvantages. For example, in emerging markets, there is unequal access to technology, which can result in an even further distinction between elites in society with high access to the Internet who are able to develop digital literacy, whereas students from lower social classes who do not have access to technology or education will not be able to develop digital skills. Additionally, it can be expensive to provide access to digital technologies and computers in emerging markets, which might not be the most important priority of national and local governments, and thereby can result in a greater gap in digital literacy between the West and developing countries. Moreover, children are always motivated by curiosity, therefore we do not think young people in particular will spend so much time on learning to use new technologies. However, we do believe that technology can be a tool to “improve” and not to “replace” the educational system. Thereby we agree with the argument of Annabel and Rosa that technology itself cannot be the most successful teacher of the future.

    Nagua El Sabagh and Iris Bakkum

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  2. Willemijn Dortant & Jochem van Noord says:

    Critical comments:

    – Teacher absenteeism, the crucial factor leading to the conclusion E-learning may fail to achieve developmental goals, is not explained clearly throughout the Ethiopian-case the editors put forward. Though in the end the main argument does become clear, it would have contributed to the coherency of video’s content; to review all video’s cases considering the key-conclusion more specifically. For viewers might conceive the topic rather unprepared or without profound knowledge within the domain of E-learning, and a guiding bottom-line might help them getting acquainted with the subject.
    – While the theoretical sustainment of the discussion presented, is quite elaborate; it might have been good to include an interview or a video clip of a lecture, in which a intellectual expert explained his/her thoughts on the issue. For at the moment, although we as viewers who read the related literature, know the arguments made are theoretically backed, a lay-viewer might think the comments made, are rather subjective and arbitrary. Referencing is always a good thing!
    – Annabel did a very good job voice-overing the video. Her English is clear; understandable and easygoing. Her intonation and rhythm comfort the viewer (listener); making the video’s content conceivable. Pausing at the right time, and probing questions for consideration, invite the viewer to engage actively while watching. As a result, the video is both amusing and learning.

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  3. Mick & Luna says:

    Annabel and Rosa’s video explains clearly how technology can be seen as both a tool to further education in the (non)Western world, but also touches upon the possible downsides. The examples show that the personalized nature of technological teaching materials can help motivate students to reach a higher level. However, the technology at the same time proves to be not personalized enough, at least it is not always sufficiently adapted to the context in which it is placed. The Western methods of using technology are implemented in the emerging markets, where the cultural context is entirely different. This was also discussed when introducing the terms ‘digital native’ and ‘digital immigrant’. Except for the differences in digital literacy, the access to technology in emerging markets and the specific culture in which the technology is introduced might also account for mixed outcomes. For instance, in some cultures females are not encouraged to go to school, which limits their chances of further their career regardless of the technological tools that might be used. All in all, this video clearly explains how technology might work or be counterproductive in emerging markets. We liked that the examples came both from the West as well as emerging markets and the argument was supported by research but remained understandable for the lay public. The question at the end in which the audience is explicitly addressed was also very nice! In this way, the viewer is encouraged to think about the topic further and engage with the content of the video.

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  4. Matthijs and Thomas says:

    You have posed a very interesting question about the unsupervised role of technology as a teacher, especially in emerging markets. As you say, technology cannot be the single most successful teacher, as different backgrounds and contexts of the use of these technologies by children, are so differentiated that some form of human agency is needed to guide the use of these technologies. Even though the ‘Hole in the Wall’-project may have shown that children tend to learn things on their own, without a certain goal, these technologies might (as Nagua and Iris have also commented) only make differences between children bigger!

    However, we do believe that the example of the ‘Hole in the Wall’ project differs from how education would work, as in the example, the children had no instructions whatsoever how to handle with the technology. If these technologies were to be used to learn these children about more traditional education matters, such as languages or math, the instructions could also come from the computer. The idea of the Tik-tik sCoolTool represents exactly this: children doing tasks that are on their own level, and ICT’s in emerging markets, which indeed might have more of these ‘digital immigrants’, could benefit greatly from such software characteristics. Thus we wonder to what degree software or applications such as Tik-tik SCoolTool could be designated as true ”self’-learning, since there certainly seems to be some guidence built within the software. In other words, the ‘human supervision’ can also be executed by the producers of the software, making our concerns about the matter maybe slight less serious than those of you!

    Lastly, we also have a question about the ‘digital immigrants’: if these children are put into contact with technologies from very young ages on, why would you consider them ‘immigrants’ rather than ‘natives’? We wonder whether the distinction is useful, even though the differences between the two groups are apparent; aren’t the young children who use ICT’s on a textual level also digital natives?

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  5. Payal Arora says:

    Annabel and Rosa indeed delivers an engaging video which is well edited and delivered in a professional and well paced manner and the flow of the video is very smooth. I think these are some engaging examples you both bring up that provokes us to rethink the relationship between technology and learning. While you do question the utopic concept of technology = deliverance of education, I agree with the above comments that it needs to be elaborated more extensively. Create a balance between problematizing your case (that technology is not a magic tool) and your argument (cultural and socio-economic context matters -gender divide, digital divide, teacher absentieesm, poor quality of teachers and teacher training, low bandwidth, technology being a highly cost intensive tool – at what cost? – teachers? after all, their budget is limited and it either gets diverted to tech or teachers. Sugata mitra for instance tried to address this criticism that youth need guidance by pushing for volunteers from the village- the “grandma” who will ask and encourage, but in reality, I found that few would actually sit next to a HiWEL station to just wait for children to use the computer and thereby guide them (instead of working for instance). Yet, few question this although its rather common sense. An interesting perspective on rethinking education comes from Paulo Freire (very marxist as you can see) but radical nevertheless: http://www.pedagogyoftheoppressed.com/ My own personal experiences of meeting radical educators has made me realize that while technology is indeed endlessly fascinating and I agree, can be a high motivator for students, there are also other strategies like the arts and theatre that are not given as much weight in engaging children: check out Born free school and John Devaraj – a educator activist who does amazing work via the arts to engage children: http://www.bornfreeart.org/
    A small last comment on the Steve Jobs school -I find that fascinating that they actually named a school after him and his style of thinking (steve jobs is also known to hate teamwork for instance. I wonder if this school focuses primarily on the self and personalization and less on social bonding and social responsibility via team work…interesting case for sure!

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