Education

Navigating Through Tech Heaven or Hell

By Kevin Bushweller — February 04, 2011 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print
Kevin Bushweller

On more than a few occasions, I have heard thoughtful educators and ed-tech thinkers talk about how technology amplifies both good and bad.

They point out that if you put learning technologies in the hands of a bad teacher, the teaching grows exponentially worse than if the teacher were not using ed-tech tools. In other words, the technology amplifies the problem, like a computer virus.

Yet in the same breath, those experts point out that when technology is put in the hands of a good teacher, the teaching grows exponentially better than if the educator were not incorporating it. You can see that potential become reality in several stories in this issue of the magazine, including one about how teachers are using the videoconferencing tool Skype and another about how they are using innovative approaches for reading instruction.

The bottom line: Technology builds on good teaching; it makes bad teaching worse.

And the same can be said for student behavior: Digital innovations enhance good behavior, but they amplify the nasty stuff.

The cover-story package in this issue about cyberbullying—written by Senior Writer Michelle R. Davis—is a case in point about the highs and lows of new technologies. The cruel ways that students can treat each other are amplified online, and symbolized by the faces on the cover of three students who committed suicide after experiencing cyberbullying.

Such high-profile cases have pushed legal and policy issues related to cyberbullying into the spotlight, with school officials on the front lines of figuring out what they can or cannot do to curb this problem. And the legal clarity about what measures they can take is, at best, murky. To further complicate matters, at least 44 states now have anti-bullying laws on the books, but the cyberbullying aspects of those laws run the gamut from effective to window dressing to possibly unconstitutional.

But there is hope. Legal and policy experts are beginning to catch up to the advances in technology. Schools and parents are more aware of what’s going on online than they were just a few years ago. And many students are taking a stand against cruel cyberbehavior.

It’s not technology heaven. But it is progress.

A version of this article appeared in the February 09, 2011 edition of Digital Directions as Navigating Through Tech Heaven or Hell

Events

Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
Mission Possible: Saving Time While Improving Student Outcomes
Learn how district leaders are maximizing instructional time and finding the best resources for student success through their MTSS framework.
Content provided by Panorama Education
Reading & Literacy K-12 Essentials Forum Writing and the Science of Reading
Join us for this free event as we highlight and discuss the intersection of reading and writing with Education Week reporters and expert guests.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: January 18, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Letter to the Editor EdWeek's Most-Read Letters of 2022
Here are this year’s top five Letters to the Editor.
1 min read
Education Week opinion letters submissions
Gwen Keraval for Education Week
Education In Their Own Words Withstanding Trauma, Leading With Honesty, and More: The Education Stories That Stuck With Us
Our journalists highlight why stories on the impact of trauma on schooling and the fallout of the political discourse on race matter to the field.
4 min read
Kladys Castellón prays during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
Kladys Castellón prays during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.
Billy Calzada/The San Antonio Express-News via AP
Education In Their Own Words Masking, Miscarriages, and Mental Health: The Education Stories That Stuck With Us
Our reporters share the stories they wrote that rose above the fray—and why.
5 min read
Crystal Curtis and her son, Jordan Curtis, outside their home in Plano, Texas. Crystal, a healthcare professional whose son attends school in Plano talks about the challenges of ensuring quality schooling, her discomfort with the state and district’s rollback of mandatory masking, and the complications of raising a Black child in a suburban district as policies shift.
Crystal Curtis and her son, Jordan Curtis, outside their home in Plano, Texas. Crystal, a healthcare professional whose son attends school in Plano talks about the challenges of ensuring quality schooling, her discomfort with the state and district’s rollback of mandatory masking, and the complications of raising a Black child in a suburban district as policies shift.
Allison V. Smith for Education Week