Panel discussion to address technology in schools

A panel of Connecticut educators, parents and business leaders will address how the state should act in incorporating technology, like tablets or web software, in students’ education.

Technology in education is the topic of discussion Tuesday at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, according to a press release by the Commission on Children.

The discussion will include keynote presentations by Christopher Dede, professor of learning technologies at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Roberta Golinkoff, a research psychologist at the University of Delaware and an expert in learning and development of children.

The discussion will be co-hosted by Gail Lavielle, who represents the 143rd district in Connecticut’s House of Representatives. She encouraged the discussion after receiving questions from citizens concerning technology in schools, Kevin Flood, director of communications at Connecticut’s Commission on Children, said.

“She’s seen a lot on the effects of technology on children’s social behavior,” Flood said. “But hasn’t seen much on how technology affects cognitive ability.”

The discussion will address what works best to help kids learn with technology, while considering research that shows negative impacts of technology on learning, Flood said.

In a publication titled “The Role of Digital Technologies in Deeper Learning,” Dede argued technology is an advantageous tool for teachers. The benefits range from introducing students to real-world situations, giving different perspectives on the same concepts, encouraging collaborative work, integrating different disciplines and personalizing how students learn.

“As yet, we have not adopted innovative ways of using technology to help education to be more effective and productive at scale, though calls for major shifts in schooling are becoming pervasive,” according to the publication. “Above all, doing better things means preparing students to be more responsive to the opportunities and challenges of a global, knowledge-based, innovation-centered civilization.”

Eva Maher, a third semester elementary education major pursuing a career as a teacher, said she is excited about the future of technology in education, but warned that it could have negative consequences.

“I think that technology in the classroom is beneficial because it’s a new age and kids are very much more in tune with technology,” Maher said. “There are so many learning programs online and apps that are really useful. They provide another way for children to solidify what they are learning and really make sure they master it.”

Despite these benefits, there is a concern that dependence on technology may lessen the quality and effectiveness of teaching.

“Technology can also be detrimental because there are a lot of people who become addicted to technology,” Maher said. “If it becomes the only way you learn, then it’s a problem. It shouldn’t be the main component of teaching.”

Despite discussions on the resourceful use of technology in schools, there are also issues with funding and opportunity in Connecticut’s school districts.

Maher wants more funding for schools that cannot afford these technologies in the first place.

“We need to create an equal education system first,” Maher said.


Diler Haji is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus.