You are on page 1of 7

RUNNING HEAD: Philosophy of Technology: The Revolutionary Potential of

Tech

Philosophy of Technology: The Revolutionary Potential of Tech


Technology is essentially the development of scientific knowledge for uses that make
human tasks easier. A whole spectrum exists of what technology can look like, from the
relatively simple, like the Eyelighter found in WWUs E-ATRC which allows students to
highlight and magnify text as they read to using iPads in the classroom to use a variety of apps.
Technology is assistive and its manifestation depends on the context in which students are
working.
Technology is a critical part of my theoretical framework of teaching because, in the
classroom, it opens opportunities for students to learn in ways that are more engaging than in
traditional spaces. Not only is engagement a factor, but efficiency as well. Technology can
streamline the logistics of education and focus on the product, which is learning. Using a
chalkboard to teach kids how the American Revolution took place can work but it is far more
tedious, less practical and messy than, say, using a Google Doc. In a Guardian article by Jenkin
(2015) the author explains that games are an integral part of the Quest to Learn school, he says,
In Quest to Learn lessons, play involves imaginative inquiry by students, ranging from group
storytelling activities that explain literary structures in English to an exercise imagining a
microscopic doctor journeying through his patients body to teach biology. (p. 1) This is an
example of engagement and efficiency coinciding. Outside of the classroom, advancement of
technology is quickly becoming an integral part of our world. According to some, such as Michio
Kaku (2015), we are approaching the singularity in which humans and technology are
becoming one (p. 1). Whether or not this will be a reality, the fact is that students will need the
skills to be able to navigate their rapidly changing world. It is our duty as educators to integrate
technology deeply and meaningfully so that our students will be prepared to skillfully and

RUNNING HEAD: Philosophy of Technology: The Revolutionary Potential of


Tech

knowledgeably contribute to society. To get to this point, we need students to be able to have
students move successfully through the educational system. It is fortunate, then, that, according
to Greaves, Hayes, Wilson, et. al, (2012), Properly implemented educational technology can
substantially improve student achievement.
Technology is effective for teaching because it can adapt learning to individual student
needs in ways that a traditional classroom cannot. There are several instances where this could be
true: (1) students with disabilities could benefit enormously from technology that would make
learning more accessible. An example could be a students ability to communicate with the help
of a text reader that translates students thoughts into words. (2) Using various forms of
technology to tailor ones instruction to the personalities and strengths of students is an effective
catalyst for engagement. Using an online, interactive game to engage students competitive
nature is useful or using Adobe Voice to create presentations if a students are shy to present in
front of the class is another way to accomplish this. These are only a few of the practical
applications of using technology in the classroom. (3) Learning is most engaging when it is
centered around relevance to the students. Using a medium such as technology is highly relevant
because most students encounter some form of it in their daily lives. Bringing that into the
classroom is a way to show students that their classroom is a space that is connected to the real
world and literally connect them to the world around them from the confines of a school. Along
the same lines, connecting the curriculum which integrates technology is an opportunity to bring
in relevant events that occurring in the world. (4) Social media is widespread among students and
will only continue to grow. Allowing the students to be connected with social media in a
structured way is an example of use of technology. It also gives kids access to a plethora of
perspectives and opinions. Twitter, for example, is a platform that gives students an interactive

RUNNING HEAD: Philosophy of Technology: The Revolutionary Potential of


Tech

way to learn from real-time news happening in their community and in the world. In an article by
Schoenbart (2016), the author says about social media, Through these tools, we develop a sense
of Community because class never needs to end when the 41-minutes are over and learning
extends over time and space. With a simple Remind message, Tweet, or Community post, I can
communicate, share, and engage learners in a way that was never possible before. And they can
share, too. The sense of community is developed with the use of social media and the author
makes a very important point about how learning does not stop after class ends, that connecting
the classroom to the outside world through social media creates a learning environment that is
not confined by time or space. Technology might not be effective when teachers depend on it too
much and forget the importance of the personal aspect of learning. Technology cannot
empathize, technology cannot be emotionally supportive, therefore it is important that teachers
recognize technology is only a tool. When it is used to do all of the teaching, it has the potential
to do more harm than good.
Circumstances where technology should not be used are few and far in between.
Technology can be an exciting and useful tool to empower students. However, there are instances
when care must be taken not to alienate students when technology is integrated into the
classroom. An example of this would be when students do not have access to technology at home
and they are forced to use forms of technology that they are not familiar with. It could potentially
be embarrassing for this population of students to be in a space where their peers are familiar
with the technology. It would be necessary in this case to have scaffolding for these students so
that there is a smooth transition from being completely unfamiliar with the technology at in use
to being competent with its use. This idea connects with being culturally sensitive and being
familiar with the community that one serves. Also realizing that not all students are, as Jenny

RUNNING HEAD: Philosophy of Technology: The Revolutionary Potential of


Tech

Margiera puts it (2015), digital natives. Technology should, however, be used when it allows
students to deepen their learning and is beneficial for their long term growth. The context is
important to take into consideration and it a teacher would be remiss to not include into a
curriculum if they notice, for example, that their students are adept with technology or are
fascinated by technology. Technology should also be used after the teacher familiarizes
themselves with the technology they want to use in the classroom. I think learning along with
students has its place, and must occur for a student-centered space to be operationalized, but a
teacher needs to have some degree of background knowledge.
Technology can facilitate family engagement by allowing them access to what is
happening in school. Parents might not have the time to contact teachers, whether it is through
email, phone or visiting the school. In this case, having a class website, for example, could allow
the parents or guardians of students to understand what their kids are learning. Parent
involvement is critical to the success of students and if technology can break down barriers to
that, then it is crucial that we as teachers learn how to accomplish this. It is beneficial for the
teachers as well as parents, as Roscorla (2014) writes in Center for Digital Education, It really
does save you time to have different forms of communication that are digital because families
know where they can find the information," Kloczko said. "It makes them the owners of the
information versus us always having to tell them."(p. 1)
There are also instances where the parents or guardians of students feel alienated from the
school itself, as a result of language barriers or having negative relationships with faculty in the
school. This is where having a class website that is accessible to the parents could be useful and
keep them in the loop as far as what is happening in the classroom. Of course, it may be the case
that a family does not have access to internet at home. For this reason, in this instance, it would

RUNNING HEAD: Philosophy of Technology: The Revolutionary Potential of


Tech

still be useful to forgo technology to a certain extent and go the traditional route of printing paper
handouts for those students. Students could pick from a file of necessary handouts at their
convenience if they knew they could not show their parents what they are doing in class via
website. However, in order to create the paper handout for a student whose familys first
language is not English, teachers could use Google Translate to convey what they want parents to
understand.

RUNNING HEAD: Philosophy of Technology: The Revolutionary Potential of


Tech

Works Cited

Greaves, T. W., Hayes, J., Wilson, L., Gielniak, M., & Peterson, E. L. (2012). Revolutionizing
Education Through Technology (1st ed.). International Society for Technology in Education.

Jenkin, M. (2015). Inside the schools that dare to break with traditional teaching. Retrieved May
19, 2016, from http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2015/feb/11/schools-studentstraditional-teaching

Kaku, M. (2011). The Technological Singularity and Merging With Machines. Retrieved May 19,
2016, from http://bigthink.com/dr-kakus-universe/the-technological-singularity-and-mergingwith-machines

Roscorla, T. (2014, August 29). Parent Engagement Rises as Schools Communicate with Tech
Tools. Retrieved May 19, 2016, from http://www.centerdigitaled.com/news/Parent-EngagementRises-as-Schools-Communicate-with-Tech-Tools.html

Shoenbart, A. (2016, February 9). Why I Want My Students Using Social Media: Reason #1 Community. Retrieved May 19, 2016, from http://www.techlearning.com/blogentry/10355

RUNNING HEAD: Philosophy of Technology: The Revolutionary Potential of


Tech