Sunday, January 17, 2010

Educational Technology

2. Mark Twain said, “Never let formal education get in the way of your learning.” What did he mean by that? Is technology blurring the boundary between formal and informal learning?

I think that Mark Twain meant that learning is not just studying a text book in school, it's knowing how to think for yourself. Sometimes being forced to sit in a dark classroom all day and be talked at can destroy a student's curiosity but I believe the internet and technology can actually open up a lot of doors to learning if it is used correctly.
Having access to the internet is having virtually all information at the tips of your fingers. The internet has anything anyone would ever need to know. All this information is accessible at any time of the day. As a student I feel that the availability of information today will help foster and address curiosity in the future. Now, I don't have to be at school to learn something, if there is a question I have about anything I can find the answer online. Access to all this information has encouraged me to learn new things every day. Even if the information I'm learning doesn't include how to find the derivative of a function, there are other subjects that are just as interesting and will be beneficial to me later in life.
When the internet becomes more reliable and easier to distinguish what is true or not, it will be the ultimate teaching tool. Formal and informal education could possibly be fused together into a mutant form of education where students learn core subjects (math, science, writing, language, etc.) in a way that benefits each student personally. As we can see from the few forum posts we have begun to write on this blog, everyone has a different style of learning. If education progresses on the internet visual learners will have access to videos and demonstrations on any subject that will directly address those students' educational needs. Every student will learn at their best.
When internet education becomes the norm I believe there will be a new generation of very educated individuals who will change the world in some very interesting ways.


  1. This was very interesting to read Blitzen. It was something that I would agree with and thinks as what will happen later future. I like the idea saying that we can find any information we need online. Yes, we can find as much information as we need to fulfill our curiosity; however, what we need on internet is to be more interactive about the information we are getting. Since everyone is getting same resources, we need to make sure that information we are receiving from the web is correct. By the concept of Web2.0 which Bru was talking about, we can solve this solution. As you said, we are benefiting from other people's forum post, and this cannot be restricted to our blog only, but to entire web.

  2. I couldn’t agree more with your statement, “Access to all this information has encouraged me to learn new things every day.” Each day provides the opportunity to learn something that you didn’t know the day before. If you don’t take advantage of that opportunity you have one day less to fulfill your potential. Your point about distinguishing between what is true or not on the internet addresses the need for each person to read with a critical eye and an open mind. This will become an increasingly important skill for citizens of the 21st Century. I am glad that you recognize the potential of the internet to accommodate different learning styles. Do you think that there is a certain learning style that benefits more from the internet? Thanx for your thoughtful post.

  3. Blizten,

    You wrote that "I believe the internet and technology can actually open up a lot of doors to learning if it is used correctly". I certainly agree with this comment. I'm interested in whether you think there are other mechanisms that could also open the doors to better learning opportunities. How could the advantages provided by the internet be adapted to a classroom?

    In education, we speak frequently about the achievement gap, which is a gap between the achievement levels of middle-high SES (socio-economic status) students and low SES students. Many scholars seek to understand why there is this achievement gap and how we can close the gap. If the internet is such a powerful tool for educational purposes, do you think that it might help to eliminate the achievement gap or aggravate it?

    I appreciate your thoughtful post.


  4. Hyunhwa I think you have a valid point when you said "what we need on internet is to be more interactive about the information we are getting" which ties into Bru's question about different learning styles as well. I didn't think about this aspect of virtual learning before, most likely because I am a visual learner so seeing the information on a screen is one of the best ways to help me learn. But I do feel tactile or auditory learners might have some troubles with this.
    Sarah, your point about a student's financial position is interesting as well. Increased virtual learning might make it hard for students who don't have the assets to afford computers. But do you think that if technology is utilized more in education, access to computers would become easier?