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Argument: Technology is merely a tool facilitating education

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Supporting evidence and analysis

  • Jvascular (online debater). Economist Debate Series. October 16, 2007 - "Technology, like money, functions or, really, hyperfunctions as a lubricant does for machinery: it facilitates education, communication, etc. but is NOT a substitute for the true acquistion of knowledge. Baudrillard's thesis of simulacra (i.e., derivatives, copies, holograms) aptly presaged the perversion of technology, namely mistaking the artifice for real."
  • Joel David (online debater). Economist Debate Series. October 15, 2007 - "As a student I feel compelled to support this resolution. For all the resources of a private education my school is still unable to keep up with the racing nature of technology today. A new computer lab, a new wing, a new skybridge integrating the latest; all are obsolete before complete. The only education that does not follow that trend is a classical one. Calculus or Great Books may go out of style, their relevence may be debated but they teach invaluable lessons. Not how to use the latest, but lessons on how to think, how to learn, and how to become engaged with the surrounding world. This is not to deny completely the role of technology in education. After all, the text books used today are a product of a printing press, and a powerful calculator can reduce some formulaic memorization from mathematics. Instead, my vote is to affirm the relatively minor impact that the "new technologies and new media" can have on education today."
  • AlwaysLearning (online debater). Economist Debate Series: Education. October 19, 2007 - "technology will be used and incorporated only to the extent to which the USER is allowed to facilitate learning. In higher education, more responsibility for learning goes to the student whereas in secondary and moreso in primary education, teachers take the responsibility for learning and DO NOT let the students take any. Technology is a backdrop, a tool, a method and a facilitator. It does not learn, it does not provide information, it is there to be used. HOW we use technology lets us either have access to vast amouts of information very quickly, or it may teach us new skills by allowing us to self-train such as in a simulation. In the end, it is how technology is brought in to the classroom by the teacher or the student that makes the difference, and for what purpose. IT may allow us to do things more quickly or accurately, may give us access to the internet and its vast wealth of information, may allow us to communicate with multitudes of people from around the world to gain a better understanding of ourselves and our global community... but we must always have a clear purpose in mind and have someone there to support and guide our learning."
  • 772563 (online debater). Economist Debate Series. October 19, 2007 - "Sir- As others have noted, technology is just a tool. But what a tool. In the field of corporate learning and talent development, it has vastly expanded the options for global delivery while reducing cycle times and costs. On the other hand, it is only a tool. The risk is that the inherent seductiveness of technology will blind decision makers to the necessity of using other tools and methods (classroom instruction, coaching, job rotation, etc.), that are just as cost-effective and full of impact, as part of an integrated, comprehensive solution."
  • sbwaters (online debater). Economist Debate Series. October 19, 2007 - "Technology is only a tool. Its use adds to or detracts from education according to use or misuse. Technology positively represents the feedback cycle that will nudge education beyond its Newtonian static universe of facts, facts, facts to properly credit to the value of understanding dynamic process as well. Computers are machines that feedback results into an input. Similarly, audio and video feedback into microphones and cameras. They nail to the table, impossible to overlook, that thinking about thinking about thinking is feedback — a process either constructive or destructive – that must be managed. A brain is like a thoroughbred: ride it, or it will ride you. Technology used negatively fosters only entertaining curiosity that curses society with a parlour show that lulls teachers and students together into the fog. This, at a time when science has put such power into the hands of zealots that civilization itself is at risk and Mother Nature doesn’t care whether civilization wins or not. The continuing introduction of new technologies and new media adds to the quality of most education because it adds opportunity. Used wisely, it illustrates wisdom that, for our safety’s sake we are in a race to make accessible to the least of us, and used unwisely, it leaves us the consequence to see. Upon this foundation a shining city can be built."
  • acuara (online debater). Economist Debate Series. October 18, 2007 - "the impartation of wisdom from one generation to the next has always involved the establishment of an interpersonal relationship as an a priori requirement for instruction between student and teacher or disciple and master. the tools that were used were typical to the time the instruction took place and relevant to what was being taught. It was not the tools that did the teaching, rather the teacher, who had established the rapport with the students. In america, we have found to our disapointment, technology is simply one more form and one more interruption and one more intervening factor that gets in the way of the teacher being able to successfully present the curriculum to the students so that it will be understood and learned. Educational tv can teach, but only if you wish to learn"

A tool such as technology depends on socially responsible use

  • phonon (online debater). Economist Debate Series: Education. October 18, 2007 - "The technology is the tool, the human (teacher etc) empowers the tool either in a socially responsible way or not. We should not dumb down our introduction of technology into education. The human factor is what is important, for example a human can turn a technology such as an airplane into a extremely beneficial tool for society or into a tool of mass destruction. We need to focus of human values with respect to social responsibility. Lets not blame technology, lets take responsibility!"

Counter-arguments

  • Technology allows for the creation of superior knowledge - It is not simply a tool for accessing existing bodies of knowledge, but fundamentally involves itself with the quality of knowledge-(co)creation. Wikis and Wikipedia being the biggest example of the fundamental way in which technology has changed knowledge creation and thus knowledge itself.

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