This week, I read “Professors Say Technology Helps in Logistics, Not Learning” from the Chronicle‘s blog, Wired Campus, and one sentence stood out. It stated that one “anthropologist interviewed for the study said technology-rich courses, in which PowerPoint presentations and online notes are used, can give students less incentive to attend class or pay close attention to the material as it’s being taught.”
I bring this up because it’s a reference point in the conversation about technology in education. When we talk about technology in the classroom are we talking about PowerPoint or something greater? Would a technology-rich anthropology course use PowerPoint or would it use GIS and CartoDB? For me, I see PowerPoint as being in the camp of word processing and email. Yes, it’s technology, but it’s in the background, part of the landscape of learning and business.
The blog post does mention that technology is often dumped on faculty without guidance or thought toward pedagogy, and that’s a fair assessment. Technology for technology’s sake is never the answer. There needs to be a learning objective involved. The use of technology needs to make sense.
Going back to the title of this post, what does technology in the classroom mean to you? When you hear “technology-rich” course, what do you envision?