Friday, November 18, 2011

Technology and Students - to use or not to use

I was in a meeting yesterday where one person mentioned that his daughter was so amazed that there was no internet when he was growing up. He talked about how she has so much technology - iPad, iPad touch, computer, and yet when she went to school, she wasn't allowed to use any of it. And that he had to buy an outdated graphing calculator for school since she wasn't allowed to use the tool she normally used, the iPad.

In response to that remark, there was another person in the meeting who responded that her children were not allowed any technology, especially calculators, at home. Things should be done by hand, especially math. No calculators.

It just struck me as odd - such diverse perspectives about technology (in a technology meeting mind you) and about what should or should not be allowed for students in schools and at home. My view is that we do a disservice to our students/children to not provide them with tools that could enhance their learning. I don't think they should be the only tool or source of learning...but if technology is going to provide an opportunity to be more efficient or discover deeper meaning, then it seems worthwhile. The calculator question has been on going - as a math teacher, I definitely think students need to learn without a calculator the fundamentals of number sense, adding, subtracting, multiplying, etc. but then the calculator becomes a tool to developing deeper understanding because it allows you to see patterns, get beyond the preliminary calculations to the more interesting concepts, etc. Balance...it's all about balance.

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