I just read a blog on the Chronicle of Higher Ed website about an in class experiment where the entire class discussion was conducted via Twitter. Some students loved it, some students hated it and the lecturer concluded that the discussion wasn’t as deep as it usually is in traditional class discussions.
One of the students commented that she felt “independent in her voice”. This is a common comment when we discuss using technology as a way to increase student involvement. Yes, some students may not feel comfortable voicing their ideas and opinions in front of groups. Would it be better, if we helped them to do so, instead of finding alternative ways for them to communicate?
Perhaps it is the psychologist in me that gets hung up on the importance of being able to communicate our needs, wants, opinions, and ideas to our functioning in life.
I like the idea of blending technologies and I love using every tool and gadget at my disposal for a multi-media classroom learning extravaganza! (ok, I’ve got PowerPoint and Moodle, but I use them like crazy).
What I don’t like is technology as a substitute. And I think the blog and the comments that follow really illustrate the point that these tools are useful but not sufficient. How can we find the optimal blend?