Unbound Growth Blog

Has technology really aided in our learning?

Posted by Carole Mahoney

 2/4/20 7:45 AM

WSCLF Tech and teaching

We are overloaded with tech. It's in every profession and market. Technology was supposed to make us more productive... but has it?

Learn what Matt Miller, a teacher that has infused technology and innovative teaching methods in his classes for more than 10 years has to say about this.

 

 

 

Carole Mahoney: Let's talk a little bit about the technology because we're living in a day and age where we've heard this promise that technology is going to save us time, it's going to make us more productive, we're going to rule the world, and change the world. And here we are inundated with technology, our attention spans are getting shorter... Has it really aided and helped in our learning and human experience? Or is the article that says the Internet has made us stupid actually true?

Matt Miller: I think there's probably some truth. Now, this is coming from someone who trains teachers on how to use technology meaningfully in the classroom. This is someone who's been a gadget geek and a tech geek since he was little. I mean I had an Atari and when I went to college I took notes on a Palm Pilot...

So has the Internet and has technology made us stupider? I think if you want to take a real pessimistic look at it, I think maybe it has, in some ways. However, we are so young in this whole technology Internet revolution. You don't have to look back very far to see where all of this really starts to take off. I think we don't give ourselves enough credit because we're still trying to figure out what life is like with smart phones and the Internet and Netflix binges of The Bachelor. What is life like with all of these things?

And I think that maybe we've tried to pick it up, and pick it up too quickly, and maybe we haven't been judicious enough about it.

But I have learned a couple of things about using it in the classroom that I think crosses over because a lot of the teachers that I work with in the classroom, there's a wide variety. You've got the brand new ones, who you assume are tech savvy, where that's not always necessarily a good assumption, but they're still young and they know how to do Snapchat and Instagram, so everybody always just assumes they're tech savvy. 

Carole Mahoney: And every executive makes that assumption whenever they've hired a millennial, they must know technology.

Matt Miller: Exactly. Can you help me fix my iPhone? There's like young kid that can help me fix my iPhone.

Carole Mahoney: Yeah, exactly.

Matt Miller: All the way to the ones that are getting ready to retire. Where you just assume that they're not tech savvy because they haven't come up with it. I've found that in that wide spectrum, that wide range, if you try to figure out this whole technology thing, you're going to feel overwhelmed.

Carole Mahoney: Oh yeah.

Matt Miller: Because nobody ever figures out this whole technology thing. I mean, right now I am in my office surrounded by devices. I've got a ridiculous interactive monitor back behind me. I have two screens right here. I have a smartphone. I have all of this stuff around me. I still haven't figured it all out. But there's a difference. The difference is that I have found little things that can help me be better than I was before, and I've adopted those things.

I think sometimes we get stuck in that stigma of, "I have to be techie. I have to be tech savvy. I have to be a geek to figure all this out." That's not true. That's like looking back at the days when they started using Xerox machines and it's like, "I've got to be Xerox-y to be able to do that." No, you've just got to be willing to put the paper on the thing and hit the button. You know? It's like, if it's something that's going to help solve a problem for you, then you pick that one little thing up. So maybe we start small and maybe we start finding those little individual things that can help us instead of trying to take on the whole thing. And I think if we can keep our focus on the things that make us better and try to eliminate some of the noise that doesn't, then maybe that's starting to be on the path to figuring this whole technology thing out.

Carole Mahoney: Yeah. It's so often that I find people are looking for technology to solve the process problem, or they're looking for technology to do something that they wished they should be doing or could be doing, but not really doing. And really, like you said, if you can identify where are the areas that I'm repeating things or maybe even things that could help me work a little bit faster in my workflow and process, it has to start with knowing what that is. Otherwise, you're going to get distracted by the shiny ball that's bouncing everywhere and not really actually getting anywhere.

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