Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Reflection - 10/25/12 - Technology in Education

It would seem that we find ourselves at the end... but where then should I begin? So far, Collins has discussed the evolution of technology both in the classroom and out, the development of the information age, and the transition that the current, historically rooted, educational systems are working through. However, I have felt somewhat strongly that his arguments thus far have been aimed more at congnition than application. This was to change in his final few chapters.

His initial thoughts, beginning where we left off (p.104), offer us a bilateral argument about technology. The simple fact is that as we spend more time socializing virtually, we are slowely losing our interpersonal, real life, social skills. It is by far a simpler way to text message someone, than to call them, or even to meet in person. We can even now work collaboratively, via the internet, on any number of projects, across any length of distance. Is the trade off worth it? Possibly. Human beings have a psychological need for company, but we need to moderate the physical with the virtual or we become isolated. Even a virtual community can become a lonely and desolate place to exist. Even the skills we may aquire (time management, marketing, prpbability, group dynamics...), as he points out, from utylizing the gaming industry can lead to such places. MMOS and forums can only take us so far.

The next point that really stood out for me was his throry about the acquisition of credentials to build our experiences. It reminded me of the educational system found in Lois Lowry's, The Giver. Although a distopian novel, the schooling was based in first observations of the youth's apparent interests and strengths, followed by matriculation into a graded system of specialization, culminating in an apprenticeship and a career. I remarked, while discussing the book, that it sounded like it could work and I second that upon hearing Collin's ideas. The main concern is how to transition into such a system when even now we have no alternative routs for students, save high school.

Lastly, cultivating a culture of life long learners is a noble endeavor. I believe that such a system, as described by Collins, could very well bring about the future he paints, but it will be a hard pill to swallow for many families. Even if we manage to get individual laptops fro every child, and provide adaptive software, individualized learning programs, and career councilors, until we have a multi generational understanding of comprehension and learning, it won't succeed to the extent that we so desire. We need a comprehension generation to grow up and instill what they've learned to their children,. I feel that such a generation could easily adapt to changing media and create a homogeneous culture of competent, critically thinking, individuals.

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