May 25, 2020

Learning Tech Is Different From Consuming It

We are all consumers of technology. An alarm clock wakes us up. Hot coffee from a coffee maker poured in a cup. The microwave dings- there’s our meal. And so on and so forth.

Our daily consumption of technology, which started since we were young, is not limited to just food sustenance- it also includes an important aspect: education. Technology is projected to play a bigger role in our education, hastened by our pandemic situation. If not for edtech, learning at home will be harder than it is. Desktop computers, tablets and smartphones can all be used to consume information and education.

Although it is not that obvious to most of us, there is a big difference between simply consuming tech to actually learning tech. Consuming implies passivity- learning involves activity. Many get absorbed by technology without producing much result. A child watching hours of TV, or is hooked on a video game or app are some examples.

Learning, on the other hand, stimulates one to think and often leads to creativity. One can learn and acquire new skills by watching and mimicking YouTube do-it-yourself tutorials. As the cliches go, “because it is only when we create something will it be our own,” and “only when we create (or teach) will we understand”. YouTube culture has grown in a rapid pace during our time- the online community has inspired many to go and create their own videos, from the mundane to the highly-intellectual, and oftentimes educational.

All video games are not created equal- there are those that are basically just time-consuming, and those like Minecraft that foster creativity and learning. Children and adults alike get to build things using geometric shapes- this requires reasoning, strategy and spatial awareness. The Minecraft player gets to play the architect/builder in a digitized world of his/her imagining. The player can also interact with other players, collaborative learning or more precisely cooperative building is encouraged in order to yield better results. Research points out that the game may help children with problem-solving, design and engagement.

Apps that can be used for educational purposes are continuously being developed and produced. YouTube videos are steadily uploaded and viewed around the world. It is easy to get lost in the virtual world with this plethora of content, and internet safety is always a concern since not all digital material are deemed safe for all ages. Teacher tools like Visible Internet is a solution one can employ so parents and educators can efficiently supervise and guide learners with their consumption and learning of technology.