Reasons why new technologies in education aren’t as effective as we would expect
It’s certainly easy to rush things and get excited when a new system or technology is introduced in our lives. More or less this is also true with the introduction of new technologies in education, which has certainly helped things a lot and still offers many possibilities for the near future, but there are also numerous problems and disadvantages that we don’t often take into account or just refuse to recognize and accept.
From my experience as I teacher for over two decades, I can clearly tell you that technology in education can have really excellent and productive results in the future, but still there are great issues that need to be corrected or changed in order for this development to take place effectively.
Identifying the problems and negative impact of new technology in education
My experience is related to how the education system and schools operate in Greece. You may find similarities and differences in another country where things are probably more advanced or maybe not as advanced.
The biggest issue I can really identify is that the use of computers, tablets and new technologies in general is not the same in each school. There are schools in big cities like Athens and Salonica for example that are very advanced, and others mainly in rural areas of the country, where nearly no technological changes have happened in the last couple of decades. In some cases, things vary significantly even at the same school, since some teachers like to use new technologies in their class and others really don’t, even if they are offered all the necessary equipment and support by the school.
Of course, from my experience again, just having the means and using them is simple not enough. There is actually a need of pedagogical redesign based on new technologies and educational activities and the appropriate creation of standards in the content, methodology and techniques used at school. This is something that requires a general acceptance from the teachers and the entire educational community.
Then a suitable methodology needs to be developed and introduced to the school environment, so that we can ensure the production and transfer of knowledge to our kids. This process is unfortunately not something that has been decided and developed yet in Greece, from what I can see there are various issues that are also related to administrative and technical support and central training that need to be seen.
New educational challenges for teachers
Even more challenges immerge every day. For example, new learning needs are constantly being created that are not yet properly addressed. These of course need the same means of expression and equipment so as not to create incompatibilities within the system. The actual problem is that all these have a high cost.
There’s the cost of renewal that includes upgrades, the change of personal computers and other hardware and peripherals, books, even low costs like internet connections, that sometimes happen to be a luxury because of technical problems and the financial crisis in Greece that has forced the government to cut down on spending and funding. Unfortunately, the cost of knowledge is very high, especially where new technology is involved.
Pupils and new technology
When me and my colleagues introduce a new technology to our class, we have to make certain observations and reports on reports on how students react to these. We simply cannot ignore that in some situations new technologies create isolation, dependency and passivity among students. This often leads to a lack of emotions and eventually the nature of human relations itself changes. This is not a theoretical assumption, it’s actually a fact that is very alarming. This is why methodology is again of utmost importance.
It is not our work as teachers to just make children recipients of information but to interact with other students and teachers. Physical communication is very important for many reasons. People can communicate through computers in an environment based on the written text, they cannot see, hear and feel the physical presence of people who communicate. The absence of physical contact may indeed result in psychological problems and conditions or issues of coordination and social relations.