Monday, June 17, 2013

QuinnSpeak - "the ‘seduction’ of technology in education"

The Minister for Education, in a speech at a conference in Dublin Castle, warns us all against the dangers of providing the latest hardware to schools. He tells us that putting your "educational taxpayers’ money on short-term hardware is not the road to go" and that we are “in the midst of a new electronic Gutenberg moment". In his school-master voice he preaches that we have to "separate very clearly the difference between the seduction of modern technology which is a phenomenon of short duration and the necessity of European education which goes right back to the Acropolis and Socrates". Quite a strong message from someone who claims to be a modern reforming minister!

Minister for Education, Ruari Quinn,
needs to come out of the dark ages?
Image source:
All of this is QuinnSpeak for "we are not buying iPads for schools"! I am puzzled as to why he has an objection to "short-term hardware". Isn't all hardware "short-term"? How many years can you get out of a computer? 3-4 max in a school environment I'd say. In mentioning the Acropolis and Socrates he is showing his true colours - does he think that we can teach and learn without any technology more advanced than chalk and blackboard?

There are hundreds and thousands of people working in the education sector at all levels in Ireland, many of whom are pushing the boundaries of what is possible in education on their own initiative using whatever technology is available. We are not stupid - we know that money is tight and that budgets for technology are going to be squeezed. Minister Quinn uses the word "seduction" - I agree, technology is seductive, but so is anything that enhances the learning and teaching experience. "Seduction" implies tempting, luring, or leading people astray - I do not think this is what technology in education does, sorry to disagree Minister!

(Quotes above taken from on-line edition of The Irish Times article "Quinn warns against ‘seduction’ of technology in education" by Judith Crosbie).

1 comment:

  1. Of course, it is Ok for TDs to be seduced by technology. I presume he did not object to the recent Ipads for TDs tender. See:

    You should also compare this speech to a press release from a few weeks ago. See:

    Quote: "I congratulate both Google and Trinity on this joint initiative. In the context of the major reforms in teaching and learning that I am implementing, I particularly welcome initiatives which can further enhance student outcomes. Since coming to office, I have instigated a number of radical changes in curriculum and teacher education designed to foster greater innovation and creativity in the classroom. I am sure that this project can contribute to that positive change. Interventions such as this are most effective when they are consistent with national policy and I look forward to the project leaders liaising with my Department and the Teaching Council in this regard."