Exactly What Role Should Technology Play In Education?

I love technology, education and combining the two. The latest iPhone has a new tool, Siri, that lets you ask your phone just about anything and get an immediate answer. I’m guessing Siri can answer some obscure questions faster than most teachers can. To me, this is a bit unsettling.

While I don’t think technology can replace education (it should be another part of the educational toolbox, in my opinion), the increasing ability of technology can’t be ignored. Today it’s Siri, tomorrow it’s an even smarter phone or tablet that could take digital learning to the next level.

So where exactly should we draw the line? Where should technology stop and real-world education start? Is there even a line anymore?

When will students start relying more on technology and less on teachers? Has that already happened?

Siri and the iPhone 4S

Here’s what inspired these questions (which have been buzzing around the back of my head for months now):

There’s been a lot of buzz (to put it lightly) about the new iPhone 4S and Siri. If you haven’t heard, it’s basically a tool that lets you ask your iPhone almost anything and get an answer.

However, there’s a problem. This new tool makes it easier to cheat than ever before. It’s not too different from doing a Google search but it makes it easier and faster which means it could be quickly used to secure answers to a test without anyone knowing. Siri answers just about any question with nearly instant results. In fact, it even formats the answer in an easy-to-view method (see the image to the left).

The Bigger Issue: Technology vs Education

This speaks to the larger issue of technology in education: easier access to resources could make students reliant on the technology and not on comprehension. The iPhone 4S is simply the latest advancement in highly capable devices able to help students (and everyone else) uncover answers to things they may never have known before.

But exactly what role should technology play in education?

While I am a big fan of the iPhone (have a 3GS, pre-ordered a 4S) and think technology has a place in classrooms, this is a question that’s been in the back of my mind for some time now. How do we use technology as an education tool without going too far and having it become the only thing students turn to for answers?

I’m very curious to hear what you think. Please weigh in down in the comments or on the Facebook page.