The Future of Technology in Education
In high school, I attended what Jefferson County Public Schools called a “technology school.” Despite the name, Eastern High School had a disastrous attempt at integrating tablets into the curriculum. I remember hating the cheap tablets the school forced upon us and leaving mine in my locker to collect dust all year. Whenever a teacher tried to get us to use the tablets we all groaned and moaned until no teacher ever suggested we use them again.
I am definitely an advocate for technology in education, but I agree with the skeptical students Becky Hayes writes about in her USA Today article. Student Heather Mulheron summed my opinion up quite well when she said, “Sometimes it is easier to search for a particular passage or search themes in an e-book, but it is harder to use sticky notes in them, so it wasn’t necessarily easier to study books on my Nook.” I am never opposed to using technology to get my work done myself, but find it can get frustrating when I am required to do so. I find that some of the most complicated technology I have used has been technology I had to use for school.
Despite the tablet disaster, we did have a good repertoire of technology classes. I am certified in Microsoft Excel and Adobe Photoshop and InDesign thanks to my high school years. In my last two years of high school, I was in yearbook class where we worked with cutting edge programs and hardware to create the school yearbook. We even had a 3-D printer. I think that using technology to get work accomplished is very satisfying and knowing all of the skills I learned in high school have been super beneficials in my life.
While I was reading Laura Pappano’s “How Online Learning Is Reinventing College,” I was intrigued by the concept of Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs. While the idea is seems wildly different from the system we currently have in education, I don’t see why MOOCs would not be the norm in several years. However, there are definitely a lot of kinks they will have to straighten out.
First of all, like the article said, why would students pay $50,000 a year to attend a school and take a class that they could essentially take for free online? I think that for MOOCs to work in favor of education institutions, they cannot be free. Also, there is a level of interactivity lost in watching a livestream of a professor talk. How can you ask questions? I think these are both things that can be fixed, but are definitely holding MOOCs back at the moment.