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Wrong question…

December 30, 2010

Are we going to learn better with technology? Did we learn better with educational TV? With computers? With the Web? With multimedia? Are  test scores increased by the use of computers? Are achievements increased with the money we spend on computers in the classroom? Does putting a laptop in the hands of every child increase their learning?  And most recently, does online education work?

Why aren’t we asking if learning in classrooms with one teacher per 25 kids works?

Because all these questions are mostly political, from an outdated market model and not pedagogical. They reflect a corporate (and behavioural) view of education – a need to tabulate the input vs. the output, or, how many resources ($) are we allocating for each graduate that comes out of school, with the added measurement of how he/she is received (valued) by the employers. The questions relating to any use of technology in education should aim at understanding the context and the process changes – the black box between input and output.

Learning is about living through experiences, reflecting on these, adapting and changing our understanding of … everything!  It is an individual, internal cognitive process that occurs while the sentient being is evolving through a context, a world, a society, interacting with all its elements and other beings. The classroom, the teacher, the other learners, the technology and the online environment are all but pieces of this context. They are all part of this world in which the being evolves, and they all are part of the experience, they all affect the experience in some way or other. But they do not affect only the learner and his/her learning. They affect each other. They change the context. They can affect the relationships between ALL the elements and the beings…. and obviously the experiences!!! It is what we, as learners and teachers, do with these experiences that affects the Learning. It is our teaching actions and our learning actions that affect the learning process and therefore the “results”!!

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