Here’s an interesting topic to think about.
After years of everyone pushing technology on students as the solution for improving education, even in rural South Dakota, school threats are becoming commonplace, and we bemoan bullying and lack of interpersonal skills in our students.
In our own universities, interpersonal skills are an issue that colleges are starting to take up as a serious issue for students. Some even blame the focus on social media and the on-line world versus using basic interpersonal skills as why people are becoming more and more ‘snowflakey,’ and less tolerant of differing views of others.
My wife (Dr. Michelle Powers), who is an assistant professor at Augustana and recently completed her doctorate in Educational Leadership, is starting to research whether there is actually any quality evidence on personalized learning, actually asking the “why” as opposed to the “why not” that’s been accepted for years:
But in the midst of all the excitement, there’s little strong evidence that classroom technology, including personalized learning, is improving educational outcomes. A 2015 report from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development found that countries that invested heavily in computer technology for schools showed “no appreciable improvements” in reading, math or science, and that technology “is of little help in bridging the skills divide between advantaged and disadvantaged students.”
For France, the turning point came one morning when he looked around a kindergarten classroom, “and the kids were staring at their tablets, engrossed by them. And I’m thinking to myself, ‘They could be building with blocks, they could be doing a number of different things that are more meaningful that also build social and emotional skills but they’re choosing not to. Why? Because the tool is so addictive, that’s all they want to do.’”
What do you think? Do we need to consider getting back to people working and learning together?