Discussions on classroom technology ask wrong questions, experts say

Published: Tuesday, April 2 2013 5:35 p.m. MDT

But technology is not necessarily a cure for all of education's ills, Stephenson said. To be successful, technology must be matched with the skills of qualified educators to address the needs of individual students.

"Badly deployed technology hurts children's education," he said. "Don't deploy it badly, but when deployed correctly, it is a real boon to education and educators."

Benjamin Heuston, president of Waterford Institute, which is hosting the three-day conference, agreed. He said the question asked of educational technologies shouldn't be whether it helps students learn, but instead how it can be used to help students learn.

"If it's well-implemented, you can do things you never dreamed of," Heuston said, "but if it's poorly implemented, then it just gets in the way."

But Keith Proctor, a training and development manager at BYU, said the discussion of proper implementation and innovation continues to neglect what he feels is the central issue with educational technology. He said the question that should be asked is how to leverage technology to improve the relationships between students, parents and educators.

"Traditionally, education and learning have been community endeavors, and what we're seeing more and more is this individualized approach," Proctor said. "I'm excited for the technology, but I think if all we do is pursue the technology, we're missing the big picture, which is that people learn, not computers."

Proctor said it's the people using the technology, and not the technology itself, that determines whether a new learning method will be successful at improving student performance.

"Technology is just a medium," he said. "It doesn't do the teaching for you."

E-mail: benwood@deseretnews.com

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