Friday, September 19, 2008

Technology in Perspective

As I figure out what to say in this post, I'm pressing keys on a computer and watching letters appear on a screen. After I finish, I'll press a 'button,' and my words will go out for anyone to read anywhere the Internet is available. Sometimes the sheer scope of technology is mind-boggling.

Like everyone else, educators are asking hard questions about the role of technology.

For many families, technology has made it possible to work and learn from home. We have a world of opportunities to use technology, from Internet help sites and research to online classrooms and distance learning. New technologies force us to anticipate all the exciting changes we can imagine in a different world.

Isn't it amazing that we can talk in real time to someone on the other side of the globe and share ideas with a million people on a website?

So how do we use technology without being used by it?

We can't design education around the assumption that everyone has access to technology. And children have been educated well for centuries without computers. Obviously, technology is not necessary to education, but that doesn't mean it's not advantageous. That means keeping technology in proper perspective.

In an article in The Seattle Times, Kent Hickey comments on the way technology has changed roles. Here's what he says:
"Increasingly, we are ignoring the miracle of learning deep reading, thoughtful writing, analysis and reflection, and focusing our attention only on its trappings: inclusion on some lists (best of), exclusion from others (failing schools), and using technology as window dressing instead of as a tool to help learners."
We have so many resources at our fingertips as we disciple our children, but one of the most important is our ability to share a love of life and learning. As long as computer games, virtual museums, and PowerPoint presentations contribute to that joy, then let's celebrate adding the best of modern technology to the best of classical education techniques.

How do you use technology in your home school?
How do you keep it in its proper perspective?


Mary@notbefore7 said...

My oldest is kindergarten. For now we keep technology to a minimum, focusing on the library, nature and books as our main resources. My girls are allowed 15-20 minutes a day maximum to "free play" one of our software games. We love the explorers games. They "learn" a few things, but really just are learningto be confortable with the computer.

It'll be interesting to see how we incorporate technology as they get older and I learn more about the resources out there to do virtual field trips, etc.

Anonymous said...

I have no problems with technology but I do have problems when the memory isn't be used. Technology doesn't help common sense neither does it help with the lack of empathy/sensitivty when one observes that 90% of games are violent.