In Module 2 we are presented with two videos representing tangentially different perspectives of the use of technology in the classroom. In the first video (Education Everywhere Series, 2012 March 15) we observe a Singapore high school in which technology is fully embraced; we are shown scenes of highly engaged students performing a range of tasks using technology. In the second video (CNN, 20012, March 14) we observe a school in Silicon Valley in which there is no technology in the classroom. The first video is stereotypically Singapore. The focus is on new facilities, dutiful students and teachers expounding the virtues of a technology. Yes, the teachers! Not a peep from the students! We observe, for example, a bizarre scene in which students in a class relay questions to a teacher using a networking app rather than holding up hands and asking questions. The teacher thinks this is marvelous! The second video is a stereotypically new-age California. We observe students interacting socially and a lovely student then tells us how cool it is to feel connected to her fellow students!
In all seriousness these are great schools notwithstanding my tongue-in-cheek jibes. Leadership and teachers at the Singapore school have undoubtedly worked hard to integrate technology and enrich the quality of student learning; they are paragons of passion and commitment. This being Singapore however there is little evidence that students have greater independence or responsibility for their own learning. The technology-free school in Silicon Valley holds few lessons for those of us living mortal lives in much less affluent communities. These students may not use technology in the classroom but they probably live highly privileged lives filled with rich experiences that the vast bulk of children will never experience.
There are many reasons why technology has a role to play in the classroom: Roblyer & Doering (2014, p.36) highlight the need to teach 21st century ”learning to learn” skills such as thinking creatively and reasoning effectively and how these skills are increasingly intertwined with technological literacy, information literacy and visual literacy; for many students the classroom is the only place that they will have to develop these 21st century skills that will serve them in adult life and employment; November (2009, March 30) also highlights the need to engage students using technology to expand their worldviews.
CNN (Producer). (2012, 14 March). Silicon Valley school with no computers [Video file]. Retrieved November 2, 2016 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUxLKik3zNA
Education Everywhere Series (Producer). (2012, 15 March). Singapore’s 21st Century Teaching Strategies [Video file]. Retrieved November 2, 2016 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_pIK7ghGw4
November, A. [November Learning]. (2009, March 30). Myths and opportunities: Technology in the classroom [Video file]. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/3930740
Roblyer, M., & Doering, A.H. (2014). Integrating educational technology into teaching: Sixth Edition. Essex, UK: Pearson Education.