The Great Ed Tech. Debate: Take 3 & 4

Wow, what a night! 

Two intense debates and four very strong arguments! My adrenaline is still pumping a day later!

We started the night off with Debate #3: 

Schools should no longer teach skills that can be easily carried out by technology (e.g., cursive writing, multiplication tables, spelling).

Very interesting…. 

The Agree Team Argued that…

 Technology is the future. 

So true. It is relied upon and integrated into our everyday tasks, that truthfully I don’t know what I would do without it! Why not set up our children for success down the road!

Effective and Efficient:

By using technology to effectively and efficiently complete tasks we have more time to focus on creative thinking and mental well being.

Student Centered, Independent and Engaging: 

The skill and use of technology allows students to drive their learning in the direction they choose, creating independent and engaged learners

The Disagree Team Argues that…

Essential for Fine Motor Skill Developement:

Teaching students to write instead of type, and draw instead of calculate, students develop fine motor skills that are needed for necessary everyday actions.

Better Processed and Problem Solving Skills:

When students use strategies that do not involve technology, they develop a deeper understanding of the process instead of simply gaining an outcome

Equity Gap Widened:

Teaching with only technology can create a larger Equity Gap because some children will have opportunities to practice and apply these skills outside of the class, while others will not.

If I am being honest I voted in favor of the disagree side both prior and after the debate. My reasoning is simply, I believe there is a place for both skills in the classroom. Technology and traditional skills have the ability to enhance each other when both are present.

If only traditional skills were taught… All I can think of is the groups quote “If we teach today as we taught yesterday we rob our children of tomorrow”. We know technology is becoming more and more present and relied upon in society and therefore need to expose our students to such skills.

On the other hand if only technology was taught… I really do believe students would lack understanding (especially in math concepts), fine motor skills would not develop and I don’t think the skill of printing/handwriting and spelling will ever go out of style. Although these skills take time and a lot of practice, I truly believe they are an undeniably important part of children’s development. 

So I guess I am taking the easy way out, but in conclusion, both tech and traditional skills need to be taught and intertwined in the classroom to set them up for future success. 


Moving on to Debate #4:

Educators have a responsibility to use technology and social media to promote social justice.

What a hot topic and what a privilege it was to take part in this debate! Actually.. I was beyond nervous and scared to death to debate in favour of the disagree side!

The reason for that is…

 I DO think it is educators responsibility to discuss and examine social justice issues in the classroom.

I DO think it is their duty to share personal opinions respectfully. 

I DO think educators have a responsibility to help students find their voices and model how to present them in a thoughtful manner.  

I DO think it is their responsibility to address appropriate social media practices to make informed decisions online. 

However, in the end I DO NOT think it is educators responsibility to use technology and social media to promote social justice issues if they do not feel comfortable. It doesn’t mean they can’t, but that is their choice.

To summarize the arguments, the Agree Team Acknowledged…

-Using technology and social media connects communities, shares information and events to promote issues students need to know about.  

-Technology is already embedded into their everyday routines and is a great agent of change.

– Develops critical thinkers and gives students a voice. 

– Teaching and education is not neutral

Amazing points that I do not disagree with at all!!

To summarize our Arguments on the Disagree Side…

-Educators do not need to be neutral, but rather teach the values of differences in the classroom to allow for a safe space for all students, families, and colleagues. 

– There are effective ways to promote and make change regarding social justice issues rather than simply posting on social media.

– Teachers must protect themselves and it is their choice if they feel comfortable posting on social media.

– It is not the educators responsibility to use technology and social media to promote social justice issues. (Not to say such issues should not be represented and acknowledged in teaching.)

In conclusion, I really truly see both sides!

I believe the purpose of these debate topics are not to prove one side is correct and the other is wrong, but to shed light on both sides and see how when both sides work together it is most beneficial for our students!

7 Replies to “The Great Ed Tech. Debate: Take 3 & 4”

  1. I share a similar position with regards to social justice. I believe that teachers have a moral obligation to both promote and be responsive to the social issues that impact our students. The sticking point for me was the use of technology. If I am expected to promote social justice messages online it would be encumbant upon my employer to provide me with a device, allocate time, provide PD on the platforms they want me to use etc. I think that we can make a tremendous impact offline by particiapating and organizing in person events. I don’t disagree that technology is incredibly important for messaging (due to its ubiquity and reach, but I don’t believe that it is the be all and end all.

    1. Yes, Matt! I agree, 100%!

      In his blog post this week (, Mike noted that while he does not connect with students via social media, he does engage in discussions about “how using a social media program can improve competence, confidence, connection, character, and caring”. There is inherent value in addressing social justice issues with our students, and in teaching competent digital citizenship, but teachers don’t have the obligation to promote social justice via social media.

  2. Hey Brooke. Great job the other night! You all really made two hours just fly by it was so exciting.

    I really like the way you organized your post. It is clear and concise, yet thoughtful and effective. I appreciate your take on the importance of promoting social justice issues while still maintaining a disagreement that teachers must use social media and tech to do so as it should be based on choice and comfort level. Thanks for a great summary of the debates!

  3. Hey Brooke,
    You did a great job on debate night.
    I am feeling so relieved to see that I was not the only one who had to debate on a topic that I personally don’t believe much in. I agree with you that the main purpose of the debates is not to prove oneself right and others wrong, but rather to understand both sides. Also, I too feel that teachers always have a choice in choosing whether they want to participate in social activism or not. It was great reading your summary!

  4. Like Matt, I too agree that teachers have an obligation to speak out about social justice issues and to teach it in their classrooms. 100% think that we have a duty to do when it comes to this topic. The trouble is that the prompt suggests that teachers have a responsibility to use their social media platforms to promote social justice issues. That’s where I wholeheartedly disagree. Activism is about passion. Passion is individual. Social media use is also very individual, in the ways we feel comfortable using it, etc. As a social media outsider, but onlooker, I would find it extremely difficult to be an activist on social media with a private account, and that doesn’t like posting much if at all. I think that activism has to be in ways that individuals feel comfortable with. Forcing people to be activists, and through a certain medium, is inappropriate and harmful.

  5. I’m with you Brooke. I think that ultimately we still need to teach some of the basics as well as start to learn the tech side of things. We are not in a place yet where technology can take the place of all of our basic thinking. I found this article about how learning basic math skills early on helps prepare them for higher learning later on. There may come a day when those skills aren’t needed but I don’t think it’s today.

  6. Great post Brooke. I agree with you Kari and our reliance on technology has reduced our need to teach and learn those basic skills

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