Technology ‘not coming in to replace pen and paper’

Education experts speak to ITP.net at GESS exhibition about tools available in the classroom

Tags: EducationGESS Dubai (www.gessdubai.com/)Google IncorporatedUnited Arab Emirates
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Technology ‘not coming in to replace pen and paper’ Swann: "I'd be mortified if I went into a school that has no library. It's great reading a book on an iPad because you can use the built in tools but there's nothing quite like a book and our children need balance."
By  Helen Gaskell Published  February 25, 2015

Education experts spoke about how technology is just an additional tool in the classroom rather than the main focus.

At the GESS Education Exhibition in Dubai, a talk entitled "Google Chrome in the Classroom: Online tools for learning," highlighted the many tools that are available through Chrome including tools for drawing and editing, making notes and reminders, voice recording and making quizzes.

The session demonstrated a tool for almost anything, but Stuart Swann LEGO Education Academy certified trainer and Apple Distinguished Educator told ITP.net: "These tools are not coming in to replace pens and paper. I'd be mortified if I went into a school that has no library. It's great reading a book on an iPad because you can use the built in tools but there's nothing quite like a book and our children need balance. The thing about using technology, is you need to use it where appropriate, if you try and shoe horn it into everything then it loses its value."

David Kirtlan, managing director, Elsium Solutions, the company hosting the sessions added: "It depends where you draw the line on what technology is because if we go back far enough, a pencil was technology and it was still embraced it is just another tool. We still have a paper based written exam system so the apps and tools are just other skills on top of that. These are tools that help us develop learning and understanding and that can be adapted to all sorts of different areas. It's about knowledge rather than physical skills."

"It's like saying was a pushbike superseded by a car? Just because we have invented a better technology people still use it. Do we still use radio when there's TV and Internet? It's just part of the richer culture of learning and support."

When asked if the technology would make it easier for students to cheat, Swann said: "It's the same with anything, if you send them home with a work sheet, they still have access to the Internet. It's about teaching children to understand how and why they use the Internet, if they're using it for research then that's ok, as long as they're not using it to just copy and paste.

"It's another way of researching. If children have got the Encyclopedia Britannica at home and they look in a book for the answer, is that cheating? Or is it only cheating when it's online?"

Both also agreed that Google Chrome was the best choice for the classroom and believe it safe in terms of privacy, Swann said: "Google Chrome is the browser we prefer because of all the tools available. I think Chrome is Safe, Google themselves have signed up to the safe hardware agreement. The vast majority of the apps highlighted are actually links to websites outside of my Google account, but having these tools embedded within my browser just means there is really quick access to them."

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