Today's Newsletter: Technology is not the Messiah - Tech Learning

Today's Newsletter: Technology is not the Messiah

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Guest post by Steve Baule, Educational Leadership Professor at the University of Wisconsin – Superior: While listening to a group of educators discuss how to improve the teaching and learning process recently, I heard a few things that raised my pedagogical hackles. Primarily, since the dawn of time, the interaction between student and teacher, novice and master, protégée and mentor, or whatever other terms one wishes to use are what informs, nourishes, and civilizes the process of learning. Technology has provided instructional tools, not the instruction itself. As educational technologists, I think it is important for us to remember that and ensure that we are clear with teachers that their role in the instructional process cannot be replaced. An article I have continued to reference is Charles Breinin’s “Technology as Messiah” (published in September 1993 in Education Digest, available via ProQuest). He referenced a purported speech from the president of Heidelberg University articulating teachers now being the guide on the side and no longer will be the “dispensers of knowledge.” The president was referencing the impact of the printing press and was speaking about 1500 CE. Just as F. Dean McClusky’s 1920s study projected that textbooks would soon be eliminated in favor of educational film, it is important for educational technologists to consider the needs for technological innovation in balance with human interaction within the instructional process. Professional development is essential for this marriage between teachers and technology to be successful. It is essential for educational technology leaders to articulate the point that teachers and technology together will further teaching and learning, not one without the other.

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