"Technology and Informal Education: What Is Taught, What Is Learned"
Posted Jul 08 2010 12:00am
Schools often rely on older media such as print and lectures to communicate with learners who increasingly lack the cognitive socialization— the informal education—that would enable them to process these media with maximum efficiency. Not only that, but schools rely almost entirely on the print medium to test that knowledge. Indeed, as science and technology have become increasingly visual in their intrinsic nature, there may be a mismatch between the structure of the knowledge and the structure of the print and oral language media traditionally used to both impart and test that knowledge.
However, the preceding makes it clear that no one medium can do everything. Every medium has its strengths and weaknesses; every medium develops some cognitive skills at the expense of others (28). Although the visual capabilities of television, video games, and the Internet may develop impressive visual intelligence, the cost seems to be deep processing: mindful knowledge acquisition, inductive analysis, critical thinking, imagination, and reflection. It is difficult for schools to teach reflective habits of mind to children whose informal education and cognitive socialization have not prepared them for this kind of learning and thinking. Yet society needs reflection, analysis, critical thinking, mindfulness, and imagination more than ever. The developing human mind still needs a balanced media diet (28), one that is not only virtual, but also allows ample time for the reading and auditory media experiences that lead to these important qualities of mind.