While my group only got 36% of the vote, I do feel as though this is somewhat of a moral victory, since we garnered a decent share of the anti-ed tech vote in an ed tech class. To me, this debate was a bit of playing devil’s advocate, since I’m generally pro-ed tech. That made it all the more interesting to me, though, since I got to explore a side of the issue that was not my natural perspective. As such, I found myself being surprised repeatedly.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was the huge amount of funds in Regina Public being spent on ed tech, while virtually none was spent on ed tech training. Alec summed it up well in the debate, saying that funding should be around 50-50 training and tech, which has not been reflected at all in my own experience.
I must commend our opponents on their admirable work. They were exceptionally well prepared, and definitely forced us to bring our A game. We worked hard to anticipate their points and arguments, but the thoroughness of their preparation kept us on our toes. It led to one of the more intense classes I’ve ever experienced, as I was fervently trying to listen to the debate, engage in the discussion, participate in the chat answering questions and posing them to the class, and collaborating with the group in our google doc and side chat where we were game planning. I can’t say enough good things about my partners and their collaborative work, and preparation. It was a really great experience.
That being said, I do stand by my points that I made in my closing statement. The ideal of ed tech is a beautiful one. As Jeremy suggested, there are tremendous opportunities to be had. The articles that the other side brought forward about personalization of education, and the use of assistive tech reflect that beautiful possibility. There is, however, the unfortunate reality of the problems in underfunding and undertraining which plague ed tech integration, and leave it relegated to teachers who seek it out on their own time, and make a point of integrating it.
I must say, I was shocked by the findings of the articles that my group brought forward. In particular, the OECD study and the student distraction study both surprised me in the net negative effect that tech seems to have. I think, though, that the scope of these studies is too limited. It identifies correlation, but not causation. Improperly implemented ed tech is just as bad, if not worse, than no ed tech at all.
In an ideal world, ed tech lives up to its beautiful promise, but in reality, its integration is a mixed blessing, at best. I think, though, that this class represents a step in the right direction, with experienced teachers seeking out greater knowledge, skill, and preparation.
Thanks for a great debate everybody, and thanks for your engagement and participation. I maintain that this was a moral victory, on the level of Rudy.