The Importance of Technology in Education – A Christian Perspective
Paul Bambrick-Santoyo, in an article entitled “If it’s good for Joe …………...” (Phi Delta Kappan, March 2013), gives an illustration about a football player called Joe Montana. He claims that by the 1988 season, Joe Montana was indisputably a great football player. Everyone would think that Joe had no much to improve on; after all he had already won two Super Bowl titles with his rating of 87.9. Paul states that, initially, Joe was satisfied; he thought that things would continue the way they started. He states that, unfortunately for Joe, for the past three years there was no any improvement in his sports record: within last three years no more Super Bowl title; and Joe never went beyond 87.9 that he scored years back. Paul claims that, then, Joe started to get worried.
Interestingly, according to Paul, when Mike Holmgren became Joe Montana’s offensive coordinator for 1989 season, the coach started by watching hours and hours of videotapes of past matches of Joe; he wanted to know the reasons or causes behind the stagnancy in the improvement of Joe’s performance. Paul states that, with determination Holmgren sat down and watched clips of every interception that Joe had thrown in his entire career; not so very long, the coach discovered a pattern in the way Joe passed the ball across the field.
Paul claims that, as a result of this discovery, the coach advised Joe to change that particular style of passing the ball to another style described by the coach; the coach claimed that in doing this, there should be a notable improvement in Joe’s performance. Paul states that, Joe thought about this suggestion, reluctantly he followed the coach’s suggestion. And it happened: Victory! Joe won the Super Bowl titles again, not only this achievement, his quarterbacks rating also soared from stagnant 87.9 to 112.4 – his best statistical seasons, and comparably one of the best in history. Joe made it at last.
There are some lessons we can learn from Joe’s story as Christian teachers: Firstly, Holmgren, Joe’s coach was interested in Joe’s predicament of not improving in his performance. Every Christian principal should be like this, we should not be quick in firing our teachers when they do not perform to the expectation. We should sit down, think, and discuss with the teachers on strategies to employ on how they can be improved in their teaching. This idea of showing interest, and giving chance to children to develop by watching their progress, and teaching them how to approach the issues of life is in line with John Dewey’ s pragmatic method of learning.
The traditional method of learning is also in support of this suggestion. This is so because of the fact, that the fallen nature of man is not perfect (Rom. 5: 12). Besides, the Bible on which the traditional method of learning bases its principles clearly preaches the idea, that man should always be given chance to improve himself because he is not perfect, and obviously, he learns through his experiences (Phil. 3: 12-14).
Secondly, Joe’s willingness to accept change is an attitude that is worthy of emulation. Joe did not wait for the right time; he discovered that he needed a change if he wanted to improve his performance. So he was willing, and accepted to change, even when he was not ready. Johann Pestalozzi’s humanistic theory of readiness fails woefully in this context. If Joe’s coach had waited for the time when Joe was ready, he would not have improved in his performance, and there would not have been any Super Bowl titles that year. He wanted the titles, but he was not ready to change. This is ridiculous! If a man continues to apply the same method in tackling a particular problem for many years, the method will continue to yield the same level of result; if he needs a greater level of results, then a change of method will be necessary (1 Cor. 15: 50-53). This is an eternal truth!
Likewise, in considering the way to improve a student’s academic performance, especially in a case of a student that wants to improve his performance; he may not like the change of method of teaching, discipline to read with phonics, memorizations, recitations, Bible lessons, quizzes, tests, grading, etc. The traditionalist teacher does not need to wait for the student to be ready before he applies all the necessary traditional method of learning procedures to secure the improvement in the child’s performance. The Scriptures does not even give room to lackadaisical attitude, rather it preaches “do it now and do it well” (Col. 3: 23). Listen to this, “For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time: behold now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6: 2 KJV). There is appropriate time for everything.
Finally, the using of video to capture Joe’s weakness should also be considered. Teachers should wake up, and face the fact, that the technological advancement in our society today is a great blessing from God (Dan. 12: 4). John Dewey’s pragmatic theory of learning supports the usage of technological gadgets to teach in our classrooms. This is called an experimental way of learning. When these gadgets are used they make teachers see, and discover their strength and weaknesses that need to be addressed; they would not have noticed much of their attitudes when teaching in the classrooms. Videotapes, cameras, computers, etc are very important tools of learning in our classrooms. They are gifts from God! Traditional method of learning does not have problem with usage of technology in Christian schools. Traditionalists believe that technology makes learning easier and more effective for both teachers and students.
It is very important to take note of the fact that, if not for the usage of the video that Holmgren utilized in his finding, Joe’s weakness would not have surfaced. Even if Joe was ready to change, and willing to go through the procedures of improvement, without the usage of the video to discover his weakness, his readiness and willingness would have resulted to frustration. But thank God for the technology, the weakness was discovered, change was implemented, and the victory was secured! So, if it’s good enough for Joe, it is also good for teachers; in other words, if technology helped Joe in solving his problem, it should be good enough also for teachers to solve their problems in classrooms.
Bambrick-Santoyo, Paul. (2013). “If it’s Good Enough for Joe……” Phi Delta Kappan (March 2013): 68-69.