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Microsoft asks: Is technology hindering or helping education?

Microsoft is hosting an event in Auckland today that focuses on the question: Is technology hindering or helping education?

New research indicates computer inferfaces can prompt or undermine different styles of learning.

Therefore, in order to ensure technology is accelerating learning and not hindering students, it’s more important than ever for Kiwi educators and schools to critically evaluate the use of technology in teaching, says Microsoft.

Sharon Oviatt, Incaa Designs president and research director, believes that for too long and with too little forethought educators have handed their student’s technology to help them learn.

For instance, the way students enter information into a computer is significant. Currently, keyboards are widely used in education, but there is evidence to suggest digital pens are more geared toward a learning environment.

Oviatt says, research demonstrates the limitations of technology can lead students to modify or simplify their behaviour, which in turn can limit their thinking strategies and behaviours to suit the technology.

A keyboard might seem like the simplest and most effective tool but a precise, on-screen digital pen can increase a student’s ability to provide appropriate ideas, solve problems correctly, communicate and build on complex ideas, make accurate inferences about information, and learn during note taking and knowledge creation, says Oviatt.

Travis Smith, a former school principal and now working with Microsoft Australia, will be speaking at the event.

Smith delivers workshops to schooling and higher education leaders around New Zealand on the use of technology for powerful learning, and has presented at conferences worldwide on the effective use of technology in the classroom.

He has also co-faciliated events such as the Worldwide Microsoft Partners in Learning Forum in Washington DC and Prague for teachers and leaders from more than 70 countries.

The event is taking place at May 5 at Unitec Mt Albert campus from 2pm-4pm.