It’s a playful video that brings home the problem of techno-hyperbole again hijacking our conversations about learning. I’ve called it the Techno Cro-Magnon Theory in other articles—the almost primal assumption that . . . technology . . . gooood.
Yes, new technologies—Web 2.0 in particular—can help us reach and teach many students. But they can also get in the way, complicate connections, and dehumanize an all-too human enterprise. I’ve heard some say boldly that technology will improve education. Nope. It is the thoughtful and effective use of technology that can improve learning. Still, more and more school board members, college and university trustees, and institutional leaders are being deluged by the flood of fanciful technology terms and again being pushed to change or die. In many places, it looks like a new IT bubble is forming.
This tech bubbling and babbling notwithstanding, an increasing number of teachers, reachers, and leaders in education are not as quick to believe the hype this time around. Instead they are asking hard questions, looking deep into the data, and reflecting on the learning outcomes surrounding new learning technologies and techniques. Indeed, the search for better insight surrounding learning is clearly on. And, ironically, in many cases it will be technology (e.g., data warehousing, data mining, and analytics) that enables people to check on the effectiveness of technology tools in the learning world.
So, the question is: are we better prepared this time. Or, will we again let IT bubble back up?