As ease of access and anytime, anywhere learning become more and more sought after, educators at all levels ought to wonder how fundamental beliefs about schooling and even learning are being modified by technology. Consider, for example, the manner in which technologies are designed to entertain and how schooling might be impacted by such a goal.
This mix of education and entertainment, “edutainment”, may cause an “inflated expectation in the learners that the process of learning should always be colourful and fun, and that they can acquire information without work and serious study” (Okan, 2003, p. 255). As Okan (2003, p. 259) notes, these messages being sent by technology and technology use are problematic because:
…meaningful learning may sometimes be difficult and requires cognitive and emotional effort should be kept in mind; this point is especially relevant in the light of the fact that post-secondary education is not usually a fun undertaking. On the other hand, recognising [sic] the serious nature of higher education does not necessarily mean that fun is an opposite of activities that are serious.
While educators might see students more “engaged” with the technologies used in classrooms, educators should wonder if students are engaged or entertained. Furthermore, preservice teachers should be aware of the subtle, but important difference between student engagement with technology and student engagement with content.
This post is from a paper I recently presented at the Association for Science Teacher Educators. For the full paper and citations, click here.