Technology in the classroom: an unavoidable step or an unprofitable investment? | Trends


The controversy surrounding the presence of mobile devices in the classroom still seems far from calm. The transition towards an educational model that integrates technology requires not only an updating of the teaching staff, but also an investment that not everyone sees as a profitable effort. In front, those who maintain that educating children and young people with their backs to technological platforms is teaching them a world that is not the current one.

Recently, France has banned mobile phones in schools, identified as direct culprits of the lack of concentration of students. The case of Sweden, once a benchmark in education and lately in decline in the PISA reports, can serve to question the effectiveness of technology in schools.

Inger Enkvist, emeritus professor of Spanish Literature at the University of Lund and author of various studies on education; Joaquín García, Secondary teacher and doctor in Social Science Didactics; the Spanish telecommunications engineer and professor of University in Sweden David Cuartielles

"In Sweden we have spent more than fifty years with pedagogical experiments and twenty years with technology inside the classrooms, we have to think about money and time: the purchase of computers involves a lot of investment and it is not sure that it was a well used money" , questions Inger Enkvist, emeritus professor of Spanish Literature at the University of Lund and author of various studies on education, in the Forum of Culture closed on Sunday the Burgos.

The specialist does not reject technology-based methods, but warns of the danger of forgetting that essential foundation that has to do with the formation of children as human beings and as citizens. By not closing the door altogether, Enkvist recognizes the possibility that technology will solve some of the educational problems, although it has shown that it has not been solved by all "after 20 years of heavy investment". "It has helped students to know more about technology, but not about math or language." There is evidence: in a study with two groups of students, one exclusively with tools technologies and the other based on traditional methods and occasionally, with new devices, it became evident that technology was not a decisive factor. It was "the prior knowledge of the students and their willingness to learn".

The Spanish telecommunications engineer and university professor in Sweden David Cuartielles represents the opposite position. He is in favor of banishing textbooks on paper, "but not its contents" and argues that in a context of dependence on technology platforms, "educating without deep understanding of these platforms is not to educate them in the world as it is today. day". Technology, he adds, is a tool, but it can also be the basis for some subjects. "

For Cuartielles, we must put an end to the image of the mobile device as a toy and claim technology as "a basis for a new organization of the educational system." The co-founder of Arduino, a hardware development company, draws attention to the possibilities of tools such as internet repositories, another resource that would leave the physical textbook out of play.

Taken to the extreme of considering whether or not to leave teaching in the hands of machines, Enkvist recalls that in the case of students with learning difficulties "the physical person is necessary". Cuartielles nuances: "the teacher, as a human, can also make mistakes".

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