Technology Doesn't Solve Everything in Schools

My family is full of teachers, which means we scarcely make it through a gathering without airing our grievances with the American education system. There’s a lot wrong and even more that can be improved. My high school age sister makes it sound like she’s surrounded by apathetic clowns who lack discipline and don’t appreciate the privilege of education, and hearing teachers describe their jobs as “glorified babysitting” just affirms that.

We can all agree that schools and school districts claim (with varying degrees of commitment) that they’re striving to improve. This is why any time they get some money, they funnel it into acquiring more technology and act like that’s solving all of the issues present in schools.Image source: Pexels

This isn’t to say that technology has never been beneficial; to get literal about it, the inventions of whiteboards, projectors, and computers have all certainly enhanced our ability to educate. And providing access to technology in schools helps kids in countless ways, especially in communities where kids are less likely to have access to such tools at home. As much as older people like to rag on the younger generations for being so attached to our phones and computers, the reality of today is that tech literacy is regarded as a secondary common sense.

That being said, it must be acknowledged that technology is not the one-size-fits-all solution for all of the problems in education. The observations I commonly hear are often along the lines of: classrooms are going downhill, kids just keep getting worse, and no one wants to be a teacher anymore. These are great complaints, but maybe we should be thinking about them as interconnected issues. I think most complaints about kids and the education system are merely symptoms of a larger disease within American culture and society. Why has teaching become such a tragically unappreciated profession? What socioeconomic factors are contributing to the devaluation of education in certain communities? Why does nobody care anymore? And most importantly, how do we fix this? (Spoiler alert: The answer might not be handing out Chromebooks like Halloween candy.)

I don’t have test scores and other “evidence” to support this notion of technology being destructive to education, but I have the knowledge of day-to-day experiences, which frankly seem more relevant. Given the fact that some people perform well on exams and others don’t, most measures of the success of the education system seem to render themselves arbitrary. So even if giving Internet machines to kids is actually improving their scores, I’m inclined to believe the observations of students and teachers rather than the system paying superintendents $270,000 a year for carrying a clipboard.

Image source: Pexels