TechnoModeration Is Needed In Schools


We all need to TechnoModerate! There are no excuses or exceptions. The idea that only kids should use technology in moderation is long past. We are all suffering from the consequences of technology overuse. The field of education shouldn’t be excluded from the technoModeration agenda. The idea that we should use technology at all costs in the classroom is also a thing of the past, despite of what you are hearing or being told.

“All screen time is not created equal,” as Patrick Larkin said and I agree. As a PhD in Instructional Systems, I feel that it is my duty to explain to you why believing that using technology in the classroom without having a clear educational strategy to unplug is unwise.

No student can process information from short-term to long-term memory while texting or tweeting simultaneously. The former is just not possible as noise will significantly decrease the rates of information processing. Our classrooms are full of students “wanting” to use technology for learning and as many students wanting to use technology to update their social media accounts. If they could choose, they would choose to update their twitter accounts first, and tumbler second. Texting third… Learning? You tell me.

Mobile technology will never change the fact that college students are exactly what they are — College students. Young adults in college prefer to talk about themselves than to read/listen to a podcast with or without technology, especially if they are 18 or 19 years of age. Most youngsters aren’t thinking about how wonderful it is to read that intro to biology book. They are often thinking about how great that party on Thursday evening will be despite all the technology lessons we produce for them. Let’s be real people.

Not all students fit what I just told you and what I am going to tell you but the majority do, statistically speaking. After being a college professor for almost 10 years, I came to two undeniable realizations. First — Most college students will choose the easiest path to getting an “A” grade, despite of whether or not they are given technology. Second — A highly technological class meaning a class full of tutorials and podcasts aren’t a guarantee that students will learn.

In theory, heavy technology in the classroom helps to address the agenda of assisting students with different learning styles but there are more than learning styles when it comes to learning. What am I saying? Most students are NOT motivated to learn. Technology won’t motivate them to learn. At least not to a level that you think it will. Why? Because 18-25 year old young adults are in the stage of their lives where looks are more important than finding a career! In the majority of cases, of course. I argue that by taking a TechnoModeration stance, we can work with students empathetically along with technology, to help them to understand the importance of having both fun in college and learn a valuable skill set in order to sustain their dreams after graduation.

Here is what I really think we need to do, in a larger scale. Due to the infusion of mobile technology in our society, and as importantly, its adoption among kids as young as 3 — leaders must start dialoguing with stakeholders about how these technologies affect our children (and us) more openly without fearing retaliation by TechnoHitlers. I think it is time for us all to make a statement that in education and beyond, sometimes technology can cause more damage than good and it won’t be a panacea to our problems. Questions such as “How is all this technology being used for education?”  and “Is it appropriate to use technology in all courses?” should be central questions that need to be asked by leaders of education in colleges and universities. Just because technology doesn’t require establishments to pay for benefits doesn’t mean it is necessarily cheaper or better. In fact, the cost of losing a student due to lack of human empathy is much more expensive than choosing to replace human labor with technology.

I know, I know… You maybe thinking —  Professor! What do you mean by technology? I get it. I mean smartphone and computer technology and the context that they are used. 

“Is it always necessary to use a computer (or mobile technology) in the classroom to engage students in critical thinking? The answer to this question, for me at least, is no. Socratic discussion methods work as well and they are much cheaper to deliver and maintain. I am not saying that we wouldn’t use technology along with the method but the focus is on interpersonal communication not technological use.

One might say, “Well, but the students don’t like to be lectured these days.” I agree, they don’t. Let’s be fair here also, though. There are a lot of things I don’t like either but socratic discussions are not lectures! And indeed… They don’t require the use of mobile technology in order to be effective. I am from the opinion that socratic discussions along with technology can be a great way to educate.

Too much technology in the classroom can be distracting and expensive and that’s a fact. I think technology has a role in education but it shouldn’t be the driving force behind teaching. We need to be adults and lead children towards TechnoModeration in and out of the classroom. I am convinced. As a college professor, I feel that one of my main duties is to defend the students against this unprecedented adoption of technology that is clearly having some significant side effects in their lives.

The just released Common Sense Media report stated, ““Embracing a balanced approach to media and technology, and supporting adult role-modeling, is recommended to prevent problematic media use.” Therefore, I am not alone in this battle to promote TechnoModeration in society. TechnoModeration is a pressing need today! We all need a little bit of it, in one capacity of another, especaily in education.

Join me to say NO to technology overuse! SAY NO TO TECHNOLOGY AT ALL COSTS IN THE CLASSROOM!  Let’s say YES to using technology in moderation in schools and beyond.





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