Cultures: Why some teachers have difficulty using the new
by Prof. Edna Aphek
a recent issue of From Now On Ken Vesey is asking the following
The Internet-only Research Approach: Does the Web Really Have
All There Is to Say?
Ken analyzed many Internet learning resources and in light
of his research he advocates "an approach to research
[which] will lead students to the best information wherever
it is and whatever format it is in. "
His model is a "comprehensive research process for the
students and often lead them to analog resources, as well
as encourage them to use relevant online tools to tease out
the best information on their subject."
Some scholars like Julie Landry are even raising the question
whether the use of computers in general will bring about the
educational impact we have been praying for. Laundry is pointing
out at the enormous amounts of money invested in the IT and
in teacher training. She is worried about the cost effectiveness
of this investment and whether the harvest we are reaping
is worth the investment.
Landry even fears that in certain cases the use of technology
in the classroom might have a "detrimental effect"
on the learners.
As long as one culture maintains that it's better than the
other, or tries to dominate and annihilate the other, there
is no chance of reconciliation.
In the face of the above I am not recommending to sit back
and wait until more teachers will join the "computer
savvy force" or until some of the reluctant teachers
I believe that an on-going open public dialog, in which parents,
educationist, philosopher, high tech people, and public figures,
will participate, might serve as a bridge between the two
clashing cultures. The blind followers of the new culture
do it much harm. Their messianic prophecies that the new technologies
will totally revolutionize the schools, make them obsolete
and meaningless, might be a major cause of panic among several
good conscientious teachers of the more traditional culture.
Technology is not only a blessing and a boon. According to
Postman adopting a new technology is always "Faustian
Deal", as technology always gives and takes., at the
If we take the car for example then, the car while being a
great means of transportation has given rise to several phenomena
amongst them- the suburbs, air pollution, noise and many unnecessary
deaths in car accidents.
Postman is calling on us to discus the ways in which the new
technologies are using us and not only the how we should use
them. Postman claims that we have turned technology in general
and the new ones in particular, into our new Gods. By doing
so we are destroying the main reason for the existence of
schools i.e., socialization : caring for the other, learning
to share, learning the rules of fair play, in short the components
of civic education which help create a democratic public.
Postman as many others, is very worried about the digital
divide and the enormous gap the new technologies are creating
between the" haves" and the "haves not"
and the growing inequality they are generating.
Maybe it's the false promises some of the adherents of the
new technologies are making that deter some teachers from
On the other hand, many rumors [not entirely unfounded] exaggerating
and intensifying the dangers the NT might bring about, are
told by the misinformed and perhaps the computer phobic amongst
us: Net addiction, exhaustion from information overload, the
IFS ( Information Fatigue Syndrome), the uncensored land of
pedophilia , the land of hate sites, the endless dangers and
pitfalls awaiting the young and the innocent. Yes, the Internet
contains much of the above. But so does life itself. We don't
send our children out without guiding ,and equipping our children
with right tools ,and escorting them at least in the beginning.
This is one of the many functions that school and parents
take upon themselves. Life is dangerous and the NT are part
of life and often its reflection.
What I am talking about is no way a public trial or a confrontation
between the two cultures, but rather dialoging between people
who hold different legitimate views of what learning and education
and information are all about and what might be the best means
to implement their views.
What I have in mind is a meeting of minds rather than attacking
views and ideas. Starting a real, unbiased, candid dialogue
about the use and misuse of the new technologies might show
that the NT are neither demons nor Gods, and therefore will
neither solve all our learning and social problems, nor destroy
everything we have already accomplished, if used mindfully.
If such an on- going dialog is openly and courageously held
between teachers and educationists of both cultures, it will
help us air and reassess our views of what education and information
are all about and thus I believe it might pave the way for
more teachers (who until now have been reluctant to do so)
to at least try the NT, wherever and whenever each of these
teachers might deem it right and beneficial.
In an end note and in a paraphrase on Postman's words, let's
not be "exclamation marks" but rather "on -going
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