The high school I went to was one of the first in the country to take on what was called an “educational iPad initiative”, a multi-million dollar program intended to have technology increase the quality of our education. This meant that every student and teacher got an iPad. A large part of our teacher’s evaluations became based on how they incorporated the iPad technology into their lesson plans, though most students utilized their iPads to achieve the best Temple Run score. Most of our teachers absolutely hated the iPads, they only provided more opportunities for distraction. In addition, teachers had little idea of how to work them properly, having not been brought up in the digital age. Students could easily hack the iPad system that would render our school without internet or overloaded with spam for sometimes days. As a school that relied so heavily on technology, we were basically lost without it when these incidents occurred.
However, the iPads did introduce us to what Cathy Davidson refers to as “knowledge community” in her article “We Can’t Ignore the Influences of Digital Technologies”. She discusses Wikipedia and the ways in which it opens us up to more information from a wider base of people. Wikipedia allows for more current information from many sources, as it can be easily updated. Wikipedia was highly discouraged by both my anti-technology teachers and my pro-technology school system, which makes no sense. For a school that stressed the use of technology and the ways in which it could expand knowledge and mind, they discouraged access to “knowledge that was shared, collaborative, and cumulative.”
Most students had a better handle on the iPads than any adults did, as I said earlier. We have grown up in a digital age and the future will be even more digitally based. The extensive use of technology has prepared us for a technology centered work force and expanded our knowledge of how to use the tools that society is only becoming more reliant on. Other schools who don’t emphasize technology education are leaving their students ill prepared for the technology centered world they will be entering. Davidson brings up this idea in her discussion of Wikipedia’s use when she says of students who are technology deprived: “Don’t we want them to both mine the potential of such tools in formal education and think critically about them?” It’s important to not only know how to use technology but to also understand the many ways in which technology is used and to think about ways to expand upon how it affects a person’s everyday life. Critically thinking about technology can help to give students ideas about the effective and ineffective ways to use it to its fullest extent. As Davidson says, technology is a powerful tool that can open many doors for students when they are given the opportunities to explore it properly and develop their own ideas.