Monica Bulger addresses in her post in DMLcentral some key issues related to the impact of modern technologies on learning, and more importantly why the technology alone will not fix the education problem.
No matter how many laptops we put in classrooms or wi-fi networks we set up, if kids are in a district where schools are closing and class time is reduced due to budget shortfalls, learning is going to suffer.
Even though here point of view is from United States, with some international references, I can somewhat relate to her key points. Despite the challenges of the educational system are smaller here in Finland (some people even tend to look up to us internationally), technology is being sold as a cure-it-all medicine. I guess, for politicians especially, investing on technology seems like an easy way to at least pretend to be improving education. It is, also, cheaper than e.g. making class sizes smaller by recruiting more teachers.
Cost-wise, an investment of around $300 per pupil for the XO laptop is much cheaper. Long-term improvements involve infrastructural change, investment in families, and a shift in priorities, which are expensive. Elementary and secondary schools, as well as higher education institutions continually face budget cuts, suggesting that the money is just not there to invest in long-term change to our education system.
Despite that, I still believe that education needs to capitalize on the possibilities provided by novel technologies. With new pedagogical approaches it can actually make a difference on learning. As Bulgers also concludes,
While not the universal fix some may see it to be, technology is important for education. A few moments of browsing the DML blogs will show strong examples of technology’s promise. Yet, until we address the more challenging core societal issues suffocating our schools, we will be continually patching together promising technology fixes with minimal returns.