Use the Week 6 forum to discuss the relationship between technology and pedagogic theory and practice, drawing on your own context and experience.
What is your own experience and view?
Do you regard either pedagogy or technology as more significant than the other?
How do technology and pedagogy influence each other?
Do you have experience where either technology or pedagogy has been given more weight than the other?
The title I created for this post gives a clue to my position on this subject. We started by reading chapter 1 of Martin Weller’s The Digital Scholar We are introduced to the term Technological Determination which was first used by Thorbein Veblen, an American sociologist.
The technological deterministic viewpoint is that technology is an autonomous system that affects all other areas of society. Thus human behaviour is, to a greater or lesser extent, shaped by technology
This is often discussed in negative terms but I see it from a different point of view. Human behaviour is shaped by many things including culture. To me technology is just another form of culture like film and art. And similarly, debate rages here too. Think of the arguments over modern art and film and opera versus pop. None of the above are bad they are just a matter of your level of exposure, taste, preference etc. When I was 14 I loved the group Bros, now my tastes are slightly improved!
To me, technology versus pedagogy is the same thing. There is no “versus” as they can work separately, in part and together. At the school where I work we are slowly introducing iPads but already use Twitter and Facebook. We will soon be moving to Google in terms of documents, email and our website. Departments and individual teachers have Twitter accounts for their subject areas and to engage with their students. I use social media for advertising, PR and engaging with students and parents. We also use Edmodo, GCSEpod and Doddle and Vimeo. Our PE department use Wii Just Dance for lessons and it goes down a storm with students. But we have also introduced lacrosse, to me a fairly old fashioned sport, which is being met with equal enthusiasm by students. We also practice DEAR (drop everything and read, which is basically just that. Everyday at a specific time we all drop whatever we are doing and read) as a way of encouraging literacy. I see most students reading good old fashioned books but some are using Kindles and other tablets. Last week I had to walk around the school and spotted an English class sat outside in the sun reading a play from books.
This just illustrates that neither replaces the other and people will always have a preference for one but, generally, this can be accommodated in an education setting. Technology and pedagogy influence and drive each other. There may come a day when technology has a bigger influence but however far it goes it will all have originally come from traditional pedagogy. I am doing an Internet history course and its amazing how much of what we do now is influenced by things like the code breaking equipment at Bletchley Park. This happened a long time ago but it’s influence live on in the digital genes of the Internet.
Admittedly, I couldn’t study what I do without technology as I don’t have the time or money to attend a physical college. So for me technology currently is the winner but that’s not to say this won’t change. I was also at school when we didn’t have computers and the Internet was still in the early stages of development. I know you can teach without technology but we would miss so many opportunities and there is a whole wave of creativity we would miss out on. Children blogging, making films, debating on Facebook, and creating art with Photoshop to name but a few.
Technology is just like any tool that humans discover, invent, use and then adapt for other uses. Man discovered fire as a means of keeping warm and then heating food. We have now adapted the principal to posh gas barbecues, wood burners and fancy heaters outside in the garden and pubs. We invented the wheel and look what we have done with that. One day we won’t use wheels as we will all be in flying cars and gliding trains but echoes of the original wheel will always be heard.
Like the type of education we are discussing we need to be Open. Open to new technologies and open to trying them. Maybe they won’t work. Maybe they won’t work in the way they were intended. But if we don’t try we won’t know and that rather defeats the point of learning.