Sunday, April 19, 2009

Does technology improve learning?

From the blue skunk blog:

He asks a better question about technology and learning:
At a conference last week, Mark Weston from Dell computing stated that asking the question, "Does technology improve student learning?" is the wrong question.
The question should be, "Does technology support the practices that improve student learning?"
This is where I am at (and I think an unpopular viewpoint.) After making this product and that product, if the technology just creates an alternative to a traditional assignment, then it is not an improvement in learning (though may be more engaging.)

The change needs to be in pedagogy and that is where we need to work.

In regards to my reliance on a wiki, it changes how information is shared, and how students can collaborate. I use it primarily not just for that but also in an attempt to go paperless. It has been the one thing that has really bugged me over the years as I am very much an environmentalist.

Tags: technology, education


  1. Steven Hornstra (Landgraaf, The Netherlands)April 25, 2009 at 11:03 AM

    I definitely agree with your conclusion that “the change needs to be in pedagogy and that is where we need to work”. I think Clarke (2001) is right when he argues that the medium and the instructional method need to be differentiated (“The media versus methods issue”). A medium is just a vehicle of an instructional method. New technologies, such as new media, are not identical to new instructional methods; new technologies can at best facilitate new instructional methods. In fact, I think this point of view elaborates on the classic model of communication by Shannon (1948) (“A mathematical theory of communication”), for the transmission medium and the message are two different concepts in his model. Regarding our discussion in the educational context, the instructional method can be seen as the message. What do you think?

  2. I definitely agree. I think that many believe technology alone can improve instruction but that is not so, rather that it liberates us from old thinking and old methods while transforming others. If the methods we use simply jump from an old medium to a new one without transformation, then it is not the best use. Do others see and accept the message however?

  3. Using the Web 2.0 technology is a means to an end, not the end. Thanks for reminding us about this.