This is How Technology Can Undermine Learning

"When Michael Henderson is grading his students’ final assignments," according to this Chronicleblog, "he likes to skip the written comments." Mr. Henderson, a senior lecturer in education at Monash University, explains how instead of a red pen, he takes out a video camera. "He records a five-minute, unscripted critique for each student. He doesn’t bother editing the videos, even if he says 'um' a lot or has to rephrase a sentence or two," the Chronicle blog stated.

Red-ink feedback on a paper? How quaint. Why should professors spend fifteen agonizing minutes sharing comments on a student assignment when we can record our thoughts in five minutes? Why waste precious hand strength writing longhand when I could simply speak into my phone or camera? Who needs to read more than is mandated, especially in college? Reading...ugh.

In the past decade, video has helped transform higher education. The classroom is no longer a four-walled room; it's anywhere with Wi-Fi. Flipped-learning, distance-learning, real-time collaboration, and lecture-capture offer flexible modalities for teachers and students. But video on campus, if leaned on too heavily, might serve to demote an active learner to a passive one. We must be careful of tech short-cuts. Just because video is faster, easier, and "more fun" than written feedback does not mean it is qualitatively better for long-term learning goals. I am a technology advocate; I frequently beta-test devices and apps. But when it comes to higher education pedagogy, I approach new tech tools with cautious curiosity.

Read the rest of the Chronicle blog here:

Margot Douaihy, Ph.D.

Margot Douaihy, Ph.D., is a lecturer at Franklin Pierce University.