Scholarship-Winner Binfet’s Essay on “The Role of Technology on Education.”

Flat Classroom SkypeWhat role should technology play in education? That’s quite a big question for any one person to answer! And that is why we are so impressed with Kyla Binfet of West Yellowstone (MT) High School! She is the 2014 Black Mountain Software Scholarship winner for her essay “What Role Should Technology Play in Education?”

Kyla is one of 260 applicants who applied for the 2014 Black Mountain Software $500 Higher Education Scholarship, available to Montana High School graduating seniors who plan to pursue higher education. With that $500 scholarship, Kyla will be attending Trine University in Angola, Indiana (formally known as Tri-State University).

This is Black Mountain Software’s 11th year offering the scholarship to graduating Montana seniors. It is always a difficult process to select a winner, as there are so many interesting and different approaches to addressing the topic of technology and education. Kyla’s essay stood out among the rest, not only because of the great points she makes, but also because the delivery was eloquent and complete—showing skills and attention to detail that will come in handy while Kyla works toward completing a degree in Forensic Science!

We believe you, too, will agree with our selection as we share with you Kyla’s response to the question, “What role should technology play (if any) in the education of yourself, your siblings, or in the future, your own children?” Here is her award-winning entry:

What role should technology play (if any) in the education of yourself, your siblings, or in the future, your own children

As a student of the 21st Century, I have been blessed to live in a very technological age. Any information I need is immediately accessible, and I can communicate with a person across the world with the click of a button. The world is at my fingertips. While the benefits of technology are numerous, there are a couple of disadvantages. The biggest one is that technology lacks the quality of being personal. The communications you have with others are typed by them, changed into a string of 1’s and 0’s and then returned to words for you to read. There is no emotion and no real contact. While easy communication can seem convenient, the lack of connection can actually lead to miscommunication. Without being able to hear a person’s voice or see the expression on their face, we often read our own meanings into their words. The result can be a twisted version of the truth. One could argue that any communication is better than no communication, however there is no replacement for a face-to-face conversation.

My biggest fear is the impact of technology on the education of my children. As books become available online and video chats are refined, I fear that technology will overtake education. Currently I am enrolled in a Digital Academy Class, and while it is a great opportunity for me to advance my education, it is difficult for me. The class lacks the personal connection between student and teacher. It is harder to ask questions and get answers that are easy to understand and this no fault of the teacher. He does his best to help me understand the curriculum, but he does not know how I learn because he has not taught me directly. I do not want my children to experience and develop a disconnection with learning because they are being taught solely by a computer or an online teacher.

I have had some good teachers and some bad teachers, but I would not want to give up the bad teacher in exchange for a remote teacher. Teachers, especially good ones, teach their students more than the curriculum. Good teachers not only teach, but they learn, too. They take the time to interact with and learn from their students. Good teachers teach life lessons. They prompt and encourage students to examine how the world works and try to make it better. They want their students to succeed.

Technology is the result of excellent minds making the world a better place. We can learn more about the world faster and easier than ever before with the help of technology. However, the world is not populated by robots, it is populated by humans. Technology should definitely be used to assist in education, but the role it plays should be in support of other humans who are inspiring the minds of the next generation.

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