Technology is always featured when people talk about education. The authentic integration of technology is something that many educators strive for. Companies try to sell their technology to schools, may it be interactive whiteboards, laptops, or other gadgets. Other companies provide the software. There are a lot of learning tools out there, ranging from Wikis to Voicethread.
And schools also seem to spend. Some schools spend a LOT of money on technology. Of course, it is not only the hardware and software that counts, it matters how they are used. Computer, IT, Technology or ICT lessons are heavily featured on some timetables. But what about all the other areas we could use technology in, and often don’t. I still find that many language/literacy lessons barely make use of technology. But isn’t being able to type, using spell-checking software, finding out information from trusted sources just as important as being able to write with a pencil? Why do we draw hundreds of bar graphs, when we could use Excel or Google spreadsheets so well in Mathematics?
Of course, you can take this even further, but that is not the point of this post.
Technology is often seen as “the Saviour” of education. With technology, all will be well. I very much doubt that. As outlined above, without the authentic integration of technology, we might as well not be using it at all. For me, technology is a tool, and one I wouldn’t be able to live without. One, I wouldn’t want to teach without.
What I find becomes troublesome in this discussion around technology is the shift away from nature. I particularly chose the title “Nature vs technology” for this post, because I often feel it is an either-or decision. Schools spend money on technology, and have a considerably smaller budget available for other things.
Outdoor education was once high on the agenda, but where is it now? Where is the balance?
I think it is incredibly important that we are balanced in what we do. Extend technology through nature and the other way around. Lets not do one thing and forget about the other! It shouldn’t be nature VERSUS technology, it should be nature AND technology.