Blog # 2
September 17th, 2019
EDCI 571
Discussion around the Clark/ Kozma Debate

This was a challenging read, and what was even harder was reading the position Clark took on the media having little or no influence on education and learning. It didn’t speak to the fact that technology is evolving, or that education changes and develops over time. It felt narrow in scope if I am being both honest and critical. Clark suggests that it really doesn’t matter what you use to get the material across, which makes me question how anyone could feel inspired, motivated or challenged in their own teaching practice. If it really doesn’t matter how curriculum is delivered, it would suggest that both learning and teaching is somewhat static. If all we had were textbooks and basic word processors, and learning consisted of regurgitating information and rote memorization, Clark to me is suggesting the outcomes of the learning should be consistent over time. Clark does not account for students needing differentiated instruction and unique learning styles, he does not account for teachers autonomy to choose how they teach and deliver curriculum or whether they choose to use technology. Furthermore the author of this debate suggests that we should not use media in education primarily because it is too expensive. While I do appreciate that finances are always a concern in the public education sector, I have to wonder how long he thought teaching students with textbooks or worksheets would last? It costs a lot less than many of the technologies available today, however it works for a minority of student learning styles and would bore me to tears.

Kozma on the other hand did a great job providing us with examples of how technology is and can influence education and student learning. I had not previously explored the Thinker Tool Program, however this example provided, definitely had me thinking about other tech options used in education to make learning more engaging and meaningful. He suggests that we can use the capabilities of media and technology to our advantage to influence learning in a positive way. This I can completely agree with. The key is ensuring that the scaffolding or pre-teaching of why the technology is being used is important and not a missed learning opportunity.

In reflecting on my own teaching practice, I think there are lots of great things that we as teachers can use that make learning inviting and engaging that does not require media or technology. Having said this when talking to students, most have access to Ipads, computers and cell phones at home. I can use this technology that in many ways is already in place for most if not all children that I teach to augment what I am doing in the classroom. It is important to provide instructional strategies however, so that students understand the skill set they are learning, not to confuse this with just playing with technology. There are many examples that demonstrate how media influences my own students learning. For example, student video projects can be a powerful learning experience and can support varied learning styles.

Does media really have an influence on learning?

Media, in my opinion can provide a positive influence on active learning strategies. Examples of media used for meaningful education include film clips, songs you hear on the radio, a podcast of a lecture or an online newspaper article. Furthermore, opportunities to use social media in the classroom to increase engagement can be helpful, however I feel that I would approach these options with caution, consider for what purpose I am intending them to be used, and at what grade level they are appropriate. Specifically when I am speaking about social media I am referring to the use of networking sites such as MySpace, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter as well as students personal blogs.

Media does in my opinion have a great influence on meaningful learning and can be used to enhance teaching, support or compliment many traditional teaching practices. Some of the positive aspects of using media to improve or influence education in today’s classrooms include:

  • Bridging the gap between students’ knowledge and the learning objectives
  • Increasing student engagement
  • Supporting retention of skills taught
  • Motivating students through interest areas
  • Creates greater sense of meaning and relevance of concepts

I feel that the best learning happens when students are able to establish meaning. When the learning is made meaningful the learning is richer and more likely to resonate with students. With the increase and accessibility of technology, it seems obvious that such use would be hugely impactful on the learning experience and not likely to go away anytime soon.

Overall I found the debate a bit confusing and somewhat frustrating with the fact that it felt really outdated. It is difficult to choose sides in this debate, although I think I would tend to side more with Kozma. Learning is not one dimensional and there are so many ways of learning now that it seems that the use of media and technology would positively influence education today. I feel like the Clark/ Kozma debate is looking for its readers to arrive at a definitive answer or opinion, and how do we get there when what we know and love about both education and technology is constantly evolving, nothing is static.