In recent discussions of technology in the classroom, a controversial issue has been whether it is being used right or not. On the one hand, some argue that “technology should not just allow us to do traditional in a different way; it should allow us to do things that we thought were not possible.” From this perspective, we see technology in a classroom as a positive as long as it is used in a creative and enriching way to strengthen our children’s learning. On the other hand, however, others argue that “the right technology may be a pencil.” According to this view, technology should not be used when it is not needed. This viewpoint argues that technology is not always needed in an educational setting that sometimes pencil and paper will do the job just fine and the technology would be frivolous. In sum then, the issue is whether technology is the right answer and when that is the case.
My own view is that we need to change the American approach to education as a whole to keep up with current society and our future. When this happens technology use in the classroom will become much more important, relevant and no longer futile. Though I concede that pencil and paper is still an important tool, I still maintain that technology can open the door to so many educational outlets and experiences that generations in the past never could of dreamed of. Marc Prensky explains,
School is certainly not about the future, which kids tell us is their most pressing concern. If schools were future oriented, they would be full of classes in programming, multimedia literacy and creation, astronautics, bioethics, genomics, and nanotechnology. Science fiction and fantasy literature would be a part of the curriculum, as representative of alternative visions of the future. Students would be learning and practicing such future-oriented skills as collaborating around the world electronically and learning to work and create in distributed teams.
Although some might object that education should be focused only on the past and current information, I would reply that although these are both important much can be gained from future thinking for our society as a whole. When we start teaching and preparing our students for their future and take a more relevant approach on education we will engage our students, keep their attention and prepare them to succeed.