Technology and Education ANSWERS

Impacts of Media
Claudia Wallis’ Pro-Technology article“The Learning Revolution”
Neil Postman’s Skeptical of Technology article “Virtual Students, Digital Classroom”
*You will be assessed on these two articles on your final exam. Answering the questions
below will help you to read for information more efficiently.
1. In your opinion, do you think technology makes us smarter or dumber as a society? Support
your opinion with specific examples.
Smarter: Information at our fingertips, can Google anything, students more engaged in
learning through simulations, educational iPad games, knowledge more accessible to
everyone, digital natives can use technology from a young age
Dumber: quality of information can be lacking (celebrities, Facebook, Twitter), distracted
from higher quality learning
2. In what ways can media improve the learning experience within the actual classroom? How
can it detract?
Improve: Videos, simulations, computer programs, databases for research (instead of
hard copies of articles), paperless, teachers’ assignments accessible on website or shared
on Google drive
Detract: Students distracted on cell phones (texting, facebook, surfing web, youtube)
instead of paying attention in class and studying, cheating is more prominent, students
less motivated to read
3. Students argue that they “need” to always be connected to technology (cell phones, computers,
Internet, movies, etc…). How valid is this argument?
Valid: People expect immediate responses, able to multi-task, calendar on phones, habit
Invalid: Disconnecting would improve f2f and social skills, previous generations got
along fine without it
Impacts of Media
4. Would technology actually enhance the intelligence of students in a classroom verses a
classroom without technology? Cite a specific piece of evidence from one of the articles.
Would enhance: promotes students engaged in constructivist learning (Wallis 400); simulations,
like archeology dig or astronomy lab (Wallis 398-99).
Would not enhance: information overload (Postman 407); lack of group interaction and social
skill development (Postman 408); poverty and economic differences make education more
inequitable with technology (Postman 410); no “quick fix” exists to ensure all students are
learning (Postman 411).
5. To what extent does technology affect literacy in both positive and negative ways? What are
the overall effects of this?
Positive: Books more readily available; text-to-text connections and databases for research
(Wallis 398-9); students read about current events online or topics that interest them
Negative: Technology distracts us from reading – like the TV (Postman 406); kids becoming
“bored with the real world” (Postman 406).
6. What financial and socioeconomic factors play into technology in the classroom? Cite
evidence from one of the articles.
Postman is skeptical that “technologies will equalize learning for the rich and poor,” doubting
that economic differences will further create “winners and losers” (410). Poorer families cannot
afford technologies or may not know that they exist. Best teachers will go to the best schools,
which are usually not impoverished schools.
Wallis thinks that wealthier schools will share access with impoverished schools, but this is
costly and not guaranteed (Wallis 401).
Impacts of Media
7. Thinking about your readings, what were the two most valid arguments FOR the use of
technology in the classroom, and why did you choose them? Use two direct quotations.
Constructivist approach engaging students (Wallis 400)
Teacher becomes a “guide to the side” instead of the “sage on the stage” (Wallis 398)
Simulations and access to research (Wallis 398-9)
8. Thinking about your readings, what were the two most valid arguments AGAINST the use of
technology in the classroom, and why did you choose them? Use two direct quotations.
Economic disparities will grow (Postman 410)
No magic way to improve education (Postman 411)
Kids don’t wake up in the middle of the night to study algebra. This is unrealistic.
They’ll watch YouTube videos or download songs on iTunes. (Postman 405)