Is Technology Good or Bad for Us? (Part Three)

I’m in part three of a blog series on whether technology is good for us (and our students) or bad. I think every parent, teacher, coach, employer and youth pastor must grapple with this issue.

Very frequently, faculty or staff will voice to me how awful technology is for their kids—but the truth is, we teachers and administrators use it as much as the students. The fact is—it can be bad…and it can be used for good, even in schools. Some teachers are using technology (even technology that others may presume to be bad for kids) to build the skills and educate their students in new and better ways.

For instance, math teacher Karl Fisch teaches high school freshman just outside of Denver, Colorado. When he noticed the struggle most students had with homework, he decided to switch things up. He put his math lectures on YouTube, for his students to watch each evening. He figured—they are on YouTube anyway, why not get them watching something helpful?

This allows him to use his class time to go over the homework assignment with his students. Needless to say, his class is now more experiential and interactive than ever before. And his students are improving. Instead of doing things the conventional way—he flip-flopped the educational experience. In fact, Karl Fisch appropriately calls it: The Fisch Flop.

One big question educators have been grappling with for years is cell phone use at school. Right now, most schools forbid cell phones to be used during class time. It makes sense.  However, other schools have decided to use this favorite device to further students’ education. Teachers actually text assignments to students, allow them to do research on their portable devices, spark discussions on the screen and even make videos to complete school work.

One theatre instructor told me she couldn’t get her students ambitious about performing stage plays. She felt it was odd, because she considered her students thespians. Alas, they are a new breed of thespians. Her solution? Once she allowed them to make the performance a video production, everyone got excited. Some were in front of the camera, others behind it, but everyone got involved. And everyone won.

Let me ask you a question.

Before we assume certain technology is just plain bad for us, could we try to see things from a different angle? Have you pondered long and hard how that technology (the portable device, the social media outlets, the cell phone) could be used to equip and educate the next generation?

Let me know your thoughts.

Tim

Click here to check out Part 4 of the series.

Is Technology Good or Bad for Us? (Part Three)