Here at Genius Owl we have helped numerous schools and educators run STEM workshops for their students. We believe in the educational value that STEM brings to schools. This role especially becomes even more important when we consider the gender gap in STEM jobs: Women make up 50% of Canadian workforce but less than 25% of STEM jobs. That’s why we have worked relentlessly to bring science, technology, engineering and math education into every school that we’ve been given the chance to.
Even though the “T” in STEM stands for technology, but we shouldn’t confuse technology with gadgets that distract our students and hinders education. This is the main idea in a recent article on EdSurge website: The Answer for Schools Is Not More Technology. It’s Teachers and Human Connection. The author, Danielle Arnold-Schwartz, a teacher of elementary gifted students with experience teaching grades K-9 in public school settings.
Ms. Arnold-Schwartz mentions a case of parents who verbally attacked one of her colleagues because she’s been using Chromebooks during morning meeting time. She then wonders: “Could it be that parents are waking up to the realization that too much screen time is part of what ails our education system?”
She then continues by listing the numerous ways we and our kids are using technology and staring at the screen on a daily basis: “Screens entertain us, help us relax and help us answer the questions we ponder as fast as we can ask them.” The author then mentions the ways some charter schools in the US are using computers to increase the student to teacher ratio in classrooms, and recognizes a disconnect between business and teachers: “The disconnect between business and education is that entrepreneurs focus on profits, while educators focus on children and learning.”
Ms. Arnold-Schwartz writes because children like tech toys, that shouldn’t be a reason we give them more gadgets. She believes edtech entrepreneurs should change their approach towards education and don’t look at it as a “market” and children as “widgets.”
She asks the edtech entrepreneurs for more responsible approach: “Education is of dire importance for a strong democracy, and we must view product development for education as an ethical obligation. Technology can and should be used with fidelity in schools, but we must balance technology use with developmental psychology, the psychology of addiction and educational psychology.”
The author also wants teachers to play a more pivotal role: “We need educational technology that puts highly trained teachers at the center of product design and implementation. It is human interaction that truly engages children and inspires them. In the same way that we want our doctors and lawyers to take time to help us, children need real teachers to connect with and trust.”
According to Ms. Arnold Schwartz : It is only then that technology can rise to its proper place in the classroom.