Wednesday, November 12, 2014

No Child Left Untableted

In “No Child Left Untableted”, written by Carlo Rotella in September of 2013, discusses the pros and cons of using tablets as a transformative educational tool for public school students. Every teachers and students in middle schools of Guilford County were to receive a tablet for the purpose of efficient teaching and learning. Rotella includes various interviews with professionals to have the general audience see both sides of the coin concerning educational technology and how this can impact our future generation.
Rotella interviews Joel Klein, who is the Chief executive of Amplify (manufacturer of tablets), and listens to his stance on the issue. One of the biggest claims he made on why he supports spending tax dollars on educational technology is the power of customizing an individual student. In another words, teachers are able to help each student according to their own pace and curriculum level. Britt, the facilitator that leads training sessions for teachers, also supports educational technology and stresses that their job is not to dispense knowledge but to facilitate a learning environment. He claims that teachers are able to architect and extend the learning environment. Arne Duncan, the U.S. secretary of education, also seems to support the use of tablets from his concerns of students working on same materials at the same time, which has always been inefficient.
In beginning of the article, the author somewhat criticizes the use of tablets in a learning environment. As a professor who teaches college students, he complains that virtual connection only displaces real interaction between teachers and students. He also poses concerns about the increase of childhood obesity by linking it to “screen time” and addresses privacy issues regarding data. Larry Rosen, a psychologist at California State University, states an ultimate question, “Now that we’re doing this, what does this do to our kids?” It is important to note that the result of such transformation is unpredictable. Jay Giedd, a neuroscientist, shows his future concerns by stressing that adolescent brain undergoes enormous change from social interactions but the isolation from technology interferes with that development. In the end, Rotella ends with his second interview with Joel Klein and uses Finland as an example of a country that values teachers rather than technology. He concludes that respectable teachers are the main source of quality education and it would not make sense to provide them with “cool new gadgets”.
Although such transformation is criticized, development of educational technology continues to grow. Thus, instead of banning such technologies, teachers will have to effectively exploit these tablets and combine traditional teaching methods with new technologies that can benefit the whole classroom.
Carlo Rotella, born in 1964, is a professor of English at Boston College. He received a PhD from Yale University and specializes in American Studies, urban literature and culture, American literature, and creative nonfiction writing. He writes for the New York Times and Washington post, writing over twenty articles. This explains why his article was more conversational and creative in writing.
            I found this article very interesting and thought-provoking as this is a current issue that is unpredictable. The reactions I found from other audiences varied. Some people criticized the education system for wasting excessive amount of money on technologies when they can spend it on things that are necessary. Others stood with Rotella stating that they should focus more on improving the abilities of teachers, rather than technologies.
           Some articles that may have reached different conclusions:

Hill, J. (2014). Integrating Technology into the Social Studies Classroom to help promote Engagement of Twenty First Century Learners.

Armstrong, A. (2014). Technology in the Classroom: It’s Not a Matter of ‘If,’ but ‘When’ and ‘How”. Ann Arbor: Prakken Publication, Inc.

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