04/07/2014 11:09 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Qualitative Analysis: Technology in the Classroom

As in my previous two articles, I am here to ask questions. I know there is information out there to support both sides of these questions, but I am wondering about technology in the classroom. Are we gaining something important while losing something equally important? What are the pros? What are the cons? Again, I have more passion than answers. I know what works for me and I am content. But I do wonder. I have questions.

I have been discussing technology in the classroom with a few different people lately and I have mixed feelings about this. I am for technology, but I wonder how technology is going to affect our relationships. And I know technology is already happening -- Heidi Hayes Jacobs proposes new paradigms (she has a great TEDTalk), schools are moving to electronic books (St. Anne's Belfield Upper School in Charlottesville, VA has digitized its library and no longer holds books there), students are using iPads and laptops all over the country, Middleburg Academy runs CNN in its lobby during the school day. I know this is the wave of the future... as Ms. Jacobs says -- we don't need reform, we need new schools of the future now: Tweets instead of reports, creating Caesar's Facebook page ("Get of town in March...") instead of another dreaded oral report, or creating an app instead of answering the questions at the end of Chapter 2. I get this... it's where kids are. But at what cost?

Is it appropriate for a school to be the arbiter of news in passing? Is it not? Just curious.

We are more connected than ever, but when was the last time you went to your neighbor's house to sit on the porch and play some music? Or discuss a book? We're certainly connected globally, but I think we are losing our connections right next door. And maybe I am wrong -- I hope I'm wrong. Even though my favorite restaurant in the world had "No Cell Phones -- Seriously" written in chalk above its bar, how many times have I gone into this very restaurant and observed a family of four where the parents are talking on cell phones and the kids are hunkered down over iPads or plugged into iPods? Too many times...


I know there are plenty of stories to counteract my frustration -- stories about engaged interpersonal relationships and people walking old ladies across the street, creating inner-city rooftop gardens, and all of that, but there is a lot of disconnection, too. I reckon this is where we're heading. I'm resigned to accept it, but I don't have to like it. I am hopeful that real relationships flourish without my knowledge. I am sure of it. Point me in the right direction. Prove me wrong -- tell me we are not disconnected. Show me. Discuss among yourselves.

I'm glad we could have this talk.