16 Sep 2015

Do we value technology over thinking, creativity, relationships and developing the whole child?

"The first global study on students' digital skills shows Australia is one of the highest users of technology in schools. Yet the country's reading and maths performance has declined over 2000 to 2012, based on data from 2012 Programme for International Student Assessement" 
The Age, September 16, 2015

I read this in the paper this morning. It got me thinking…... 

Do we value technology over thinking, creativity, relationships and developing the whole child? 

When new technology comes along often we are quick to get on board and feel the need to be up to date. This can occur from a desire to imitate others or from being influenced by a well manufactured marketing campaign that emphasises the fear of being left behind if we don't keep our children up to date with the latest in technology. To a certain extent this is true. We are now surrounded by technology and it is a part of our world now and in the future and there is no doubt technology does provide us with many tools that enhance opportunities for producing quality learning outcomes. It is the thinking skills, creativity, learning and understanding that needs to take place first that truly matters when it comes to using and effective teaching using technology as a tool.

Personal interactions, collaborations, discussions, development of concepts and thinking is a part of everyday life in business and in education. We then use the technology to explore and communicate these ideas and concepts but you can't have one without the other. The computer or ipad doesn't do all the thinking for you. Or does it?

"If students use smartphones to copy and paste prefabricated answers to questions, it is unlikely to help them become smarter." 

The Age, September 16, 2015

Are we in danger of allowing technology to take care of thinking so that we can become more reliant on it to provide us with opportunities? It seems we value technology more now than ever as a way to communicate, interact and to educate. However, it is the relationships, interactions and thinking skills that will ultimately provide success for our children in the future. There needs to be a balance so that our children are able to create, strategically develop, articulate and produce the ideas and jobs of the future. Simply relying on technology to solve problems is not going to cut it in their future.

"In this connected world you need collaboration, you need communication and creativity. If you get all three of those in someone, that's gold." 
Peter McAlpine, Senior Director of education for Adobe Asia Pacific.

Many schools have invested in technology thinking it will improve learning and provide their school with an edge. Investing in technology is perceived to be an advantage in providing children with the best possible opportunities for their future. 

There is more evidence to suggest that children's wellbeing and connection with their peers, their family and community has more beneficial outcomes for learning than does technology. Engaging parents in their child's education is so important, particularly in the use of technology as a learning tool. As a parent it is becoming increasingly difficult not only to keep up with technology in learning but also to engage with our children when they seem to be constantly online and disconnected. Understanding how to support their learning when it comes to technology is increasingly a challenge and in understanding how it is enhancing learning and future opportunities.

In many ways technology is enhancing the way learning is communicated and provided in various formats for students, however it is not able to cover all bases, particularly when it comes to a student feeling confident in their ability to perform tasks, to absorb, collect and process information and to have all round skills to be able to problem solve and use their knowledge.

Thinking carefully about how we use technology and what it is actually doing to our children and our society in general should be a huge area of focus, particularly for parents and educators. When it comes down to it, we need to stay connected with ourselves and each other before we totally rely on technology for the answers. 
Understanding technology in education is a topic I explore in my forthcoming book, Staying Connected - How to guide children on their learning journey. If you would like a preview copy of the book or further information about our workshops and consulting in education, email rachel@practicallylearning.com.au or contact Rachel on
0419 371 876

Weekly Perspective: 
"Creativity fosters the advanced critical thinking required for emerging 'creative and knowledge' economies, where 'smart jobs' are replacing muscle work." 
Peter McAlpine, Senior Director of education for Adobe Asia Pacific.

Contact Rachel on 0419 371 876 to learn more about how Practically Learning can assist you in developing and inspiring a positive learning culture in your school to improve learning outcomes for children.

To subscribe to our 5 Thought Bubbles e-newsletter visit our website at www.practicallylearning.com.au

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