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There is an intrinsic value in a good education. Instead of depending on technology to educate it should be available, if necessary, as an aide. With the onslaught of technological devices and endless information, it becomes easier for students to become educated without learning. The education system must revamp the priorities of educating students by decreasing dependency on technology, educating students with face-to-face interaction, and inspiring learning with creativity. The constant use of technology removes these principals and does nothing to teach to inspire students.
Technology has advanced tremendously in the education system. This advancement is also the problem in that the technology is taking over the classroom. Students and teachers should have a relationship, an understanding, of what is being taught and what is being learned. Jeffrey Young, a senior writer for The Chronicle of Higher Education, writes in his article, "When Computers Leave Classrooms, So Does Boredom," about how the use of technology is boring to some students. In his article he uses the example of power points, and that class time should be reserved for discussion (Young 48). It almost seems as if the predictions of science fiction are coming true in that the computer is taking the place of our highly educated, very human teachers. These teachers are one half the equation for classroom learning, and the most effective, most true learning is achieved when there is a learning relationship between a student and an educator. The best way to achieve this learning relationship is simply with the face-to-face interaction which occurs in the teacher as the primary educator in the classroom.
Discussions and group projects are examples of the important face-to-face interaction between student and teacher. The students learn to use this information and how to apply it, and not rely on a computer to tell them how to use it. He also writes that, "Lively interactions are what teaching is all about" (Young 48); this reinforces the fact that students need human interaction. The human interaction teaches the students how this information affects everyone and everything, whereas a computer teaches what to do without teaching responsibility. A conversation with a parent is a wealth of information. Wendell Berry, a prolific writer and publisher, writes in his article, "Why I Am Not Going To Buy A Computer," about his lack of computers, why he only uses a typewriter, and his relationship with his wife. This article is an example of how technology effects people. He writes about if he were to upgrade to a computer, how his relationship with his wife would suffer (Berry 418). The face-to-face interaction in the classroom is a reflection of the student's interaction at home, and vice versa, because of what the student learns at home is equally important. Technology must not replace face-to-face interaction. Face-to-face interaction can also inspire learning with creativity.
Computers will not motivate students, nor will computers inspire learning with creativity. For example, math is a step-by-step process, not very creative, but very motivating once the process is learned. Some students learn the process through creative measures, either by associations or by developing new techniques. Computers will not teach this. Allison Armstrong and Charles Casement, coauthors of The Child and the Machine: How Computers Put Our Children's Education at Risk, write in their article, "Computer-Assisted Education May Not Enhance Learning," how the education system is too dependent on technology for students to learn properly. They write "Computer use did not, however, encourage greater creativity or motivate the children to study more" (Armstrong and Casement par. 24). This article helps reinforce the fact that technology is not the answer to better learning. On the other hand writing is very creative. It can also be seen when the student does not have a set of processes to follow, such as writing or reading. Armstrong and Casement also write, "What did motivate them were creative experiences such as reading books and saying rhymes," (Armstrong and Casement par. 24). Motivation and creativity together to form a perfect bond in the classroom, if one ingredient is missing students will not learn. If students are not motivated, they will not be creative; if they cannot be creative, they will not learn. Joanne K. Olson and Michael P. Clough, assistant professors at the Center For Excellence in Science and Mathematics, write in their article, "Computer-Assisted Education Can undermine Serious Study," that part of the creative and motivation process comes from study. Most students develop a creative process for studying that helps them learn. Computers take away this creative process for study and learning. Olsen and Clough write, "First learning is an active process, and for learning to occur, students must be mentally active- selectively taking in and attending to information, and connecting and comparing it to prior knowledge and additional information in an attempt to make sense of what is being received " (Olson and Clough par. 6). This article upholds the fact that computers hinder creative thinking, because computers use a set of instructions for the student to follow, whereas textbooks require creative thinking. Patrick Welsh, an English teacher at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia with thirty plus years experience writes in his article, "Technology May Not Increase Learning," about the overrun of technology, and how it is sometimes a hindrance. He also writes about how the dependency for computers in classrooms is too great. In his article he also makes a statement about creativity saying, "the administration seems to think that computers will make math easy, but it has to be a painful, step-by-step process" (Welsh par. 16). Most computer programs will not nor cannot teach this step-by-step process. An example of the limitations of the computer teaching in the classroom can be seen in most online math classes, that if the correct answer is not achieved within a specific amount of tries, the student cannot proceed; this causes a loss of motivation for the student, whereas using a textbook the student can learn from mistakes. The creative process begins once the textbook is opened.
The common belief is that technology equals progress. It seems that any time there is a technological advancement, there is also an expectation that the product will be achieved in a faster way and that the product itself will be superior because of that technology. Our education system is one example that this belief is not true; technology does not equal better. By decreasing the amount of technology in the classroom, the teacher would again be in the learning equation. Once the human factor is reinstated, learning will be inspired through creativity, which will then reinstate the teacher as well as the learner's responsibility in the learning process. The best way to repair the learning process for the good of the learner is for the education system to acknowledge the shortfalls of technology and to reevaluate and to reduce the role of technology in the classroom.