Education. Technology. Education technology. Education in technology. Technology in education. Each of these sentences conjures up a totally different image, yet they are both such a huge part of our lives as college students in the 21st century.
In some ways, we have come a long way in this area, and in other ways we have so much further to go. We do have projectors in classrooms, but there are also many classrooms where we aren’t allowed to take notes on our computers. We can take MOOCs online, but even the very inventor of MOOCs isn’t so sure about them anymore. We have moved from writing essays with pen and paper to writing them on a computer. Except for tests that is. And certain courses. How far have we really come?
One of the issues is that technology moves at lightning speed and the world of education tends to move at a pace closer to a snail’s. Have our methods of pedagogy really advanced that much, or even in pace with technology? Survey says not really – as a society we still cling to the traditional Western pedagogical standard of: teacher stands at the front of a classroom. Students sit in chairs silently. Teacher fills students with knowledge. Students copy down knowledge on paper. Students then repeat knowledge back by writing it down on another piece of paper, from memory. Students are now educated. In a world where there is a virtually infinite amount of information just a Google search away, why do we cling to this methodology?
I think a large part has to do with self-determination and motivation. If we were all motivated to learn, we wouldn’t have to go to school – we would just constantly Google things and learn everything we need to know on demand, when we need it. We wouldn’t need grades or due dates to formalize our learning – we could learn as much as we wanted to learn at our own pace. But even in a world where this is possible, why don’t we do it? Why do we take the path of least resistance? Perhaps because its just easier to play video games (more technology…) than it is to be productive and gain knowledge. Or perhaps the best way to learn really is our traditional lecture and memorization style.