Monday, July 24, 2006

Technology, Education, and Culture

OK, this may be a little much before your first cup of coffee on a Monday morning, but I ran across this post on one of my favorite education blogs, CoolCat Teacher Blog. Have you ever heard that Assistive Technology is "just a crutch" for a student? How about "regular" technology? Does the integration of technology into the curriculum supplement or detract from a student's education?

Here are a few thoughts from the post:

"Education fails when it is not engaging and relevant. In third world, industrialized countries, the students expect and can be made to sit in desks like robots. They can have three hours of homework. Education is the way out for many students. It is hope for many.

We bemoan the fact that America is slipping in education and seek to emulate the countries who are leading us. There is a significant flaw in that. Cultural differences can be significant. To expect a child in India to behave exactly like a child in Japan or China or America is not a correct assumption.

This is not to bemoan the shortcomings of America or any other places. Shortcomings or strengths, cultural differences must be accounted for in teaching delivery methods. America does have a culture of entertainment, television, X-boxes, computers, and personalized everything. We are who we are. Do I agree with it? Not entirely.

But when I stand in front of a room of wriggly teenagers and look to educate them, I must understand the culture to which they belong. To pull them from their electronic culture and sit them in a pioneer-model schoolroom would be like putting me under a tree sitting on a rock with Socrates. (I think I'd rather drink hemlock than sit on a rock all day!) I could learn from Socrates but I would be distracted by the rock!"

Food for thought on an early Monday morning. What are your thoughts - I'd love to hear them...

Click here to read the whole article.

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