Technology raises controversy in education

By Richard Massie
Roncalli High School
Port Saunders, Newfoundland

Is technology doing more harm in schools than good?

At a Hook, Line, and Net conference on Stephenville's College of The North Atlantic campus which took place on June 8 ,1999, four panelists, Harvey Weir, David Quick, Alex Hickey, and Craig White assembled in front of a public audience to discuss their views on the issue.

First the audience was presented with a pre-taped speech by Newfoundland Writer Kevin Major. In this speech, Major pointed out to the audience some of the negative impacts that computers have on the education system. He felt that the computers were inhuman, and lacking in the emotions and care that a real teacher would have. As well, he expressed a concern for schools that spend thousands of dollars upgrading computer equipment, yet invest little or no money in books and libraries.

After the pre-recorded speech, the four panelists launched into an in-depth discussion of their opinions about technology's influence in schools. Harvey Weir, an active promoter of technology in the schools, points out that computers are useful, and said that "There is a lot of useful information on the Internet". He was also quick to point out that the computer is not the be all end all of education. "At the bottom of my list is data. At the top is active wisdom." He said.

David Quick had similar views. Quick said, "The Internet is just a tool. Our job as educators is to show what the best tool is to use". He also said that our teachers are the best resource we have.

Alex Hickey, in response to the problem of many schools that don't have access to art galleries, stated that the Internet, "is somewhat of an equalizer to schools that cannot see these galleries."

Finally, Mr. Craig White discussed his feelings on the importance of computers in school, and more specifically their use for Stemnet's Grassroots projects. He feels that they are quite significant, and said that, "We need more conferences like this so we can see these grassroots projects."