Relay for Life
Alumni Interviews--Where Are They Now?
Technology in Education: Finding the Balance
December 31, 2011By Katy Foster of Centralia High School Activities
Education is the key to the future of our nation. Without it, society would be one where intelligence no longer mattered because modernized technology has taken its place. Technology is beneficial in making life more convenient for humans, as well as providing an abundance of knowledge to students. But technology in schools decreases the interaction between students, their peers, and their teachers, which affects the communication skills of these students. While both sides of the technology in education debate are justifiable, neither is the correct solution. Technology cannot be removed from the education system because of its importance in today’s society, but it also cannot be allowed to replace teachers and take over the education system. The solution to technology implementation in schools is to find and create a balance between the technology and the caring supervision of teachers, parents, and mentors in today’s students’ education.
“I think that technology in schools helps students learn to an extent, but technology will never be able to replace teachers. Technology cannot imitate humans,” said Bridgett Hamilton, CHS senior.
Throughout the decades, with each new hi-tech invention created, technology has been integrated continuously deeper into the education of students around the world. In 1922, Thomas Edison claimed that movies would “revolutionize our educational system” (Toyama, 2011). A few decades and several revolutionary inventions later, Fahrenheit 451 was published in 1953. In this futuristic cautionary tale, television class and technology create an education system were “school is shortened, discipline relaxed, philosophies, histories, languages dropped, English and spelling gradually neglected, finally almost completely ignored” (Bradbury, 1953). Shortly after in 1960, governments under the legislation of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson invested in classroom television (Toyama, 2011). Television and computers are used to educate children today in classroom settings to lessen the burden of teaching, to teach computer literacy, to benefit school administration, to provide a wider range of knowledge available to students, and to cut down on school spending by eliminating the cost of paying more teachers. Today, it is not unheard of that many schools issue laptops or iPads to their students (Hohn, 2011). Technology has progressed significantly in just under a century but, as Bradbury predicted, it may be too much for our educational system to sustain while still contributing to the success of modern society.
“We just read Fahrenheit 451 in our Language IV Composition class. I think Ray Bradbury had a good point about technology’s intervention causing students to be more antisocial,” CHS senior Emily Stephens, commented. “Technology cannot teach students the skills of general interaction with other people; it actually discourages it.”
As a result of technology’s advancement in the educational system, the general public believes that technology is transformative and revolutionary, therefore making it beneficial for education. But to believe it to be the answer to teaching students writing, history, science, or mathematics makes no sense. It is not expected that playing football video games makes a child a great athlete; it is not anticipated that watching YouTube will turn children into Steven Spielberg’s (Toyama, 2011). Socializing on Facebook will not turn people into electable government officials (Toyama, 2011). As President John F. Kennedy said: “Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource,” (Sommer, n.d.). The human mind created technology and, therefore, technology cannot surpass it and provide the necessary tools a student needs to fully develop and succeed.
As the evidence points out, technology is an unsuitable substitute for good teaching. “Quality primary and secondary education is a multi-year commitment whose single bottleneck is the sustained motivation of the student to climb an intellectual Everest,” (Toyama, 2011). This motivation cannot be accomplished by technology. Although technology contains all of the information needed to prepare a student for their professional life, no technology can provide the attention, inspiration, encouragement, or even the discipline for students that dedicated teachers can. Modern technology is allowing people to become more antisocial as time progresses. Among students, antisocial beliefs and attitudes, poor communication with family and peers, and lack of involvement in conventional activities are all contributing factors that lead to school violence (Understanding School Violence, 2010). School violence and lack of motivation towards education leads to more high school students dropping out of school. Annual losses exceed fifty billion dollars in federal and state income taxes for all twenty-three million United States high school dropouts between the ages of eighteen and sixty-seven (Levin, 2005). In the long run, the United States is losing massive amounts of money due to the overuse of technology in today’s educational system.
The solution to technology implementation in schools is to create a balance between use of modern technology and the human touch. Teachers are still present in most classrooms, giving the motivation, discipline, and social education to students who would otherwise not receive it from technology.
Bradbury, R. (1953). Fahrenheit 451. (1981). New York, NY: Del Rey Books.
Higher Education. (2011, October 26). Higher education costs continue to soar. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-20125731/higher-education-costs-continue-to-soar
Hohn, M. (2011, April 18). The pros and cons of technology implementation in schools. Retrieved from http://www.isnare.com/?aid=776258&ca=Computers+and+Technology
Levin, H. (2005, October 26). The social costs of inadequate education. Retrieved from http://mea.org/tef/pdf/social_costs_of_inadequate.pdf
Sommer, J. (n.d.). More focus needed on academics than on athletics. Retrieved from http://www.humanismbyjoe.com/Academics_Not_Athletics.htm
Tannock, R. (2009, November 11). What's more important , america: College football or college education?. Retrieved from http://bleacherreport.com/articles/288158-whats-more-important-america-college-football-or-a-college-education
Toyama, K. (2011, January 06). There are no technology shortcuts to good education. Retrieve from https://edutechdebate.org/ict-in-schools/there-are-no-technology-shortcuts-to-good-education/
Trump, K. (n.d.). School associated violent deaths and school shootings. Retrieved from http://www.schoolsecurity.org/trends/school_violence.html
Understanding. (2010). Understanding school violence. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/ ViolencePrevention/pdf/SchoolViolence_FactSheet-a.pdf