By Jordan Shapiro @ We Need More EdTech, But Less Technology In The Classroom – Forbes
This opinion piece asks the kinds of questions I wish more educators would ask when it comes to using technology in their classroom. Shapiro has clearly begun to wrestle with key aspects of what he can and what he cannot use technology to accomplish in his courses.
More than that, he has given serious thought to the biases of the technology he is employing, what types of learning and knowledge technology privileges and which ones it cannot. He goes even further in interrogating the very reason and purpose for teaching in the humanities..
It wasn’t the typical fears of online socialization that gave me anxiety. I’m not concerned that relating online cannot replace real in-person connection. That’s obvious and not so scary. Likewise, in-person connection cannot replace the clarity and efficiency of writing online. (There’s a reason I’ve replaced the majority of conversations I used to have on the phone with a quick text message or an email: it works better). Instead, what terrifies me is that online learning might privilege particular kinds of knowledge. It might overlook some of the very reasons we teach humanities in the first place: to encourage a multiplicity of perspectives, the foundation of social and imaginative empathy.
While this article is necessarily shorter and more direct, Shapiro manages to highlight some nuances to his journey as he experiments with different approaches and tools. As he explains, “We need to resist the urge to be oppositional. Instead, we need to learn to embrace edtech for what it strengthens and rise up with empathetic excellence where it falls short” This may be a great sentiment, but combined with thoughtfulness and a willingness to engage with big, tough questions all the while experimenting is where the real quality lies.
It is interesting to me that this article appears in Forbes, which definitely influenced some of the choices of how deep Shapiro chose to go regarding his practice, but it is a thoughtful and worthwhile readm to be sure.