Mo Tech, Mo Problems?

Debate 1-Tech in the classroom enhances learning

It is no secret that I love technology, it permeates my work life, social life, and my hobbies. However, I don’t simply choose my interests based on the technology, the technology supports my interest. Although, sometimes I do!

As discussed in class by Sushmeet and Katherine, technology needs a balance. Nicole W. brought up a relevant point that COVID-19 learning is emergency learning and not a true reflection of technology impact learning, as there was a variety of factors including support at home which influenced student achievement.

McKnight et al. emphasizes the effect that having pedagogy driven technology usage can improve communication, collaboration, feedback, interaction. They were also transparent about the support teachers had to successfully implement technology integration strategies “essential role of leadership and community support for spurring […] transformation” (p. 206). The importance in the argument is the focus on student-centered approaches supported by technology positively impacts student learning and achievement. As Jason Brown says in their TEDx talk, we don’t have to be afraid of technology. McKnight et al. write about the potential to redefine teacher roles in schools- to help students gather information on their own rather than focusing on content delivery. While there is fear in changing these roles, such as AI, why is there fear in using technology to support pedagogy. I have blogged in the past about how I have fallen victim to technology-driven pedagogy, but I still use technology to support pedagogy. I thought it was important that Nicole and Daryl said that the use of technology doesn’t automatically improve student engagement and learning outcomes, we do need training on selecting appropriate EdTech tools.

I think we often confuse tech with gamification. Gamification doesn’t have to include technology! Just this week I had a group of EAL teachers competing in Level Up, Hot Seat, and Trash-ketball with no tech options. As Brittany said in their rebuttal, tech isn’t just screen time. Megan also supported that we don’t have to be inside to use technology, we can still explore outside (think about the Pokémon Go craze– my dog got so many walks).

Here’s Mia, she must appear in all my posts

The debaters also disagreed on the impact of relationships. Brittany and Megan shared how we can have greater connections by connecting with Elders, communicating with classmates, and getting immediate feedback from teachers. Nicole and Daryl argued these relationships are “artificial” and doesn’t meet Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I have friends that I have never met (hello, Patricia!), and I see my online and offline identity as interwoven, not separate. I am very privileged to have the access to technology I need and training to engage in digital citizenship. As always, educators have a responsibility to be responsive to their own situation in regards to tech use and equality. This brings us to our next debate:

Debate 2- Technology has led to a more equitable society

Both teams for this debate addressed how the pandemic highlighted inequity for vulnerable students. As Amundson and Ko wrote, for some students learning from home will be the path to success. Tracy, Nicole, and Steven’s opening remarks share how technology has supported inclusive practices in schools and society, roughly impacting 5.3 million Canadians. Amundson and Ko support this concept by sharing that technology makes personalized learning less time consuming. Personalized learning is proven to positively impact student achievement and learning, and if technology can help drive that pedagogy, why shouldn’t we?

Kymberly DeLoatche shares how inclusion can change the culture in the workplace by narrating John’s story, and further shows how technology has improved the life of many people with disabilities. Matt Jenner writes how technology increases access to education, but:

There are, however, still many cultural and societal issues when it comes to a fair, inclusive and equal access to education. This issue is global; too many exclusions still block the fundamental right of access to education

Increasing access to education is incremental

Christina, Amaya, and Matthew argue that technology exacerbates the inequality gap that exists between higher and lower socio-economic students, and will lead to an academic divide between communities. Tracy, Nicole, and Steven argued in class that society blames technology for systemic issues that contribute to inequality that has been flawed for decades and call for an overall redesign of education.

Similar to debate 1, is the funding that is needed to implement technology equitably for all students. With government funding for education continually decreasing, it is likely we will see the long-term effects of inequity of technology access in communities and schools. When Elon Musk gave internet access to Ukraine in support, it can be seen that this gap doesn’t have to exist but is systemically kept.

In the end it both debate topics come down to money!

How are you responsive to your classroom/community context with technology usage? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Teaching,


6 thoughts on “Mo Tech, Mo Problems?”

  1. Leah you make an excellent point that gamification of instruction doesn’t automatically imply the use of technology. A teacher at my high school has been supervising a games club after school for several years and it has never centered around technology (the students play cards, board games, table top war/strategy games). He has carried some of the lessons learned from this club into his own teaching. Recently he had students “go to war” in a history class in which groups of students were the leaders of various Greek city states. He had fantastic buy in from the whole class. This is not to say that technology did not support the gamification of his classroom activity (all the research and production of materials was technology assisted), but it does not require students to be online with devices to participate (which circles back to the equity arguments from the debate – anyone can participate regardless of whether they have a laptop or cell phone).

    1. Absolutely! I also love all digital games (I ordered myself a new Switch as a grad present to myself- ha), but it isn’t the only way to engage students in gamification. Thank you for sharing those examples of how equity and technology is addressed in your context!

  2. I had a great time in class last week! Very engaging and interesting seeing everyone’s stance and compelling arguments! Great summary here! I have to admit my opinion didn’t change about tech integration in the classroom – so long as it is authentic and frequently redefines rather than substitutes, then it is beneficial. So too, with the issues regarding equity. It can bridge many gaps and great larger ones if not properly implemented/funded. Thanks for a great post!

  3. Great thoughts Leah.
    I use technology in my day to day life and now I can not even imagine my life without it. These days we are connected with our phones, smart watches and so on and without even giving it a second thought we stay in touch with each other. Technology has narrow the gap between teachers and kids and it has enhanced the process of learning.
    Also, the TEDx talk video was very interesting to watch. According to me Gamification is a part of technology as we have tabs, internet, computers and all these collectively makes technology.

  4. Great summaries here! Like Dalton, I too have to admit that my pre and post ideas on the subject didn’t change very much. Maybe it’s because they were two prompts that I really felt strongly about from the beginning, and didn’t have a lot of room to really budge on those fronts.

    I do like how you talked about gamification, and that it doesn’t necessarily mean that technology is involved. I think too often we assume that technology is literally at the forefront of all of our teaching, but there can be other ways of doing it as well. Great post!

  5. The summarization is so precise! I feel whenever we discuss the use of technology in the classroom or its accessibility, it will always come down to money. There is no denying that technology is and will keep on enhancing the learning of the students. The gap has always been there and the system itself doesn’t want this gap to end.

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