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Morning Sun
  • OUR VIEW: Technology should build up rather than burn

  • Technology should build up rather than burnaWhen man discovered the use of fire, it was considered a major achievement. It provided warmth, comfort and protection and, more than anything, progress. But fire is also dangerous.



    So it goes with technology and education.

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  • Technology should build up rather than burnaWhen man discovered the use of fire, it was considered a major achievement. It provided warmth, comfort and protection and, more than anything, progress. But fire is also dangerous.
    So it goes with technology and education.
    A while ago, the overhead projector was the ancestor of modern classroom technology, allowing students to see what the teacher writes without the hassle of chalky lungs. It also meant plans had to be changed if the bulb went out or the projector was busy in another class.
    Then television and videos came to the classroom, and teachers were able to use that technology to present information to their students in a visual, dynamic way. It also could be seen by students as an excuse not to ay attention or to take a nap in a dark room.
    Then, as technology advanced, the graphing calculator came into existence, allowing math problems to be solved quicker, and allowing other classes to go by faster thanks to the development of games on those same calculators.
    Soon, more powerful personal computers made their way into the classroom and the home in the mid-90s. Soon, research was made drastically faster and projects were designed around using the Internet do foster education. But, as with the other technologies, this could also be a problem. With so much to see and do online, it became hard to focus and easy to be distracted.
    The next wave of technology has arrived in cell phones and tablets.This gives teachers the benefit of not having to book a special computer room, since most studenst have a powerful computer at their disposal. The ability to communicate digitally or access the Web instantly can all be reached from one’s pocket.
    This week, we have seen a new danger of cell phones: cameras and social media.
    Separate incidents at Pittsburg USD 250 and Frontenac USD 249 have seen tawdry pictures taken by students spread like, well, wildfire.
    While it should go without saying how painful and disruptive these incidents are, the gravity of the situation must be underlined.
    With students under the age of 18, it is a crime to spread lewd photos of, what is legally and accurately, children. In a world in which bullying is being fought as a serious issue, these sort of incidents could easily be considered a form of bullying.
    Furthermore, although these incidents occurred USDs 250 and 249, it doesn’t matter where they actually took place These sort of incidents likely won’t be the last, and certainly weren’t the first to occur.
    The problem still exists and will be hard to eliminate.
    So what to do about a problem that will likely never go away, and as technology develops, potentially become more convenient and more dangerous?
    Page 2 of 2 - We suggest the same things our fire-developing forefathers did: teach respect and responsibility of technology to your children.
    Parents, there is no more important person in your child’s life than you. Teach your children how to use technology responsibly and how to treat others online. Give them oversight, because it will be needed.
    Teachers, remember why the students are there -- for learning. Students may not like potential restrictions in the classroom, but it’s important to create respect for others, whether adults or other students. If you do allow the use of phones in the classroom, make sure it is not abused.
    Administrators, consider the purpose of cell phones in the classrom environment. At what point do they do more harm than good?
    Freedom and responsibility can be a powerful thing. With more responsibility and freedom come more responsibility and expectations.
    Recently, many states have been moving to a more graduated driver’s license program, in which teen drivers have certain restrictions until they reach a certain age or have enough experience to be expected to know better.
    We hope cell phones don’t need to go down the same route. We hope that structures and legislation don’t need to be put into place to curb further incidents.
    As we’ve noted, technology in the classroom can burn or build up students.
    It’s up to each of us to make that choice.
     
    By Andrew Nash, for the Morning Sun
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