Today our class had the pleasure of witnessing our first debate with Will and Mike (affirmative side) versus Janeen and Catrina (opposition) on the topic of whether Technology in the classroom enhances learning. 

Will and Mike had a pretty snazzy video which was quite impressive, while Catrina and Janeen wisely opted out of using tech for their debate to further their argument and cause.


Will and Mike shared an article by Linda Castaneda and Ben Williamson titled, “Assembling New Toolboxes of Methods and Theories for Innovative Critical Research on Educational Technology.”

This article highlights the “necessity of complicated and nuanced approaches to edtech that see it as inseparable from socially-embedded human bodies or internal or distributed learning processes, as well as intricately tangled up in social, economic, cultural, political and technical contexts”. In other words, edtech can not be seen as neutral tools but rather as something that exists in relation to the world. It is mixed in with the bodies that use it, the people who create it, national and transnational policy agendas and geopolitics. Requires funding from financial sources that are not neutral. It acknowledges that edtech is marketed to schools and universities and based on “certain theories or assumptions about pedagogy, education or learning”; This paper, as the authors put it, is “an overview of emerging issues and challenges… and [introduces] some of the innovative theoretical and methodological approaches” within the field.  It examines edtech in the post-pandemic 2020s and its social and political role and suggests edtech might “propel more globally diverse voices in setting alternative agendas for educational technology than those that originate in either bureaucratic offices or education technology development studios”.

Another article shared was Class, Take Out Your Tablets: The Impact of Technology on Learning and Teaching in Canada provided by the Information and Communications Technology Council, a Canadian not-for-profit center of expertise for the digital economy.  I thought this point was of interesting merit that the ICTC, for example, argues that technology is an invaluable tool for Indigenous students in northern communities, promotes e-learning opportunities to collaborate with other students across the country, and to increase inclusivity for students with disabilities by providing Universal Design for Learning. Although attempts at incorporating technology have existed for decades, the ICTC focuses on the new opportunities that continue to emerge for students to become technologically literate in our constantly evolving technologically-savvy world, while providing engaging ways to promote equality, diversity, collaboration, and new ways to think.


While Catrina and Janeen share an informative Ted Talk by Scott Wideman

Scott Wideman poses the question: Is technology in the classroom more beneficial or harmful to students? Wideman affirms that this is an arguable issue, and suggests there are countless discourses for and against it. However, he contends that more importantly, we need to recognize that technology is not going away, and our students today are growing up immersed in it. Thus, regardless of whether we feel that technology is beneficial or harmful in the classroom, it is our responsibility to prepare students to use technology responsibly.

As well as this interesting article published in Forbes magaine by Natalie Wexler Why technology hasn’t boosted learning-and how it could. 

In this article Wexler argues that heavy emphasis on and investment in ed tech in recent years has not yielded expected positive results. She explains that it’s important to understand the science of learning. For example, the “more information you have in long-term memory, the more cognitive capacity you have for comprehension, analysis, and additional learning.” This then demands that we first understand how learning works before we can effectively use technology in the classroom.

Final Thoughts

Both sides debated their positions well and to be honest intially I was more in favour of technology enhancing learning, but now thanks to Janeen and Catrina I have more of a balanced approach to understanding the role of technology in the classroom. I think there are pros and cons to both. Technology needs to be managed well and there needs to be an option for everyone to have access to the tools needed so no students are left out.