Education is just one facet of society that must take a look at how it will adapt to the uses of technology so as to prepare teachers and students for the challenges that lie ahead.    Follow this metaphor of technology in tennis to get a sense of the effect that technology has had on education, as well as future implications.

How has technology affected tennis?

Great tennis players of the past are often compared to great tennis players of today, and many commentators try to discuss which player is the greatest.  However, anyone who has followed the evolution of sports technologies, especially in tennis racquets, realizes that the players of today play at such a higher level in terms of control, power, and speed.  Great players of the past are still held in high regard, but due to advances in technology and training, today’s players certainly have the advantage.  Even though a good player, with a wooden racquet, can beat a novice player, who is playing with a modern racquet, any player should choose more modern equipment in order to compete at the highest personal level.

So how is technology in education similar?  Students and teachers are players, looking for an advantage to compete in modern societies.  Although education can be seen as the training for the game, the players must practice with the equipment that they are going to use in the competition.  So many trends in the global society call for an increased knowledge and application of technologies for organization, communication, and administration of resources.  Technology is at the forefront of discussions regarding world markets.  “The infrastructure required to facilitate online and mobile commerce are becoming a reality as high-speed broadband and mobile technologies become more and more integrated into society.” (2010 World Digital Economy – E-Commerce and M-Commerce Trends).  In order to compete for these roles, education must provide the foundation for the application of technology tools so they can adapt to or even develop advancements in these markets.

Comparing the need for technology in education with tennis technology only demonstrates part of the need.  This metaphor falls short because even though tennis technology has changed, the dimensions on the court have not, however, this has not been the case with education.  Philosophies and theories of education struggle to find coherence; while new lines are being drawn, the old lines are still in play.  Despite the talents of both teachers and students, the policies and standards can create a lot of confusion or frustration with the game.  However, technology also provides a solution for the complex nature of education.  According to the Horizon Report 2012, learning analytics is a strong emerging trend in education. “The goal of learning analytics is to enable teachers and schools to tailor educational opportunities to each student’s level of need and ability in close-to-real time.”  The use of technology helps bring together the data and the resources, forming an individualized education plan.

Strategy also plays a very important role in tennis as well as in education.  Coaches and trainers try to develop specific knowledge and skills in the players so when they are in action they can execute the play.  Such is the case with two of the primary educational strategies.  The directed, or objectivists approach and the constructivists approach often seem contrary to one another.  Each strategy has distinct priorities to the process of learning.  Nonetheless, technology offers solutions for both philosophies.  Regardless of the approach to education, integrating technology provides motivation for the learners, optimizes scarce resources, makes educational opportunities more readily available, and develops informational and visual literacy. (Roblyer and Doering, 2012).  Even though objectivists and constructivists promote a different process, the desired outcome is very similar, just as the case of the given metaphor.  With versatility, a tennis player can be prepared for any circumstance he or she encounters, but once again the equipment is what enhances the ability.

Technolgoy: Tennis and Education, Google Presentation

References:

2010 World Digital Economy – E-Commerce and M-Commerce Trends – BuddeComm – BuddeComm. (n.d.). Retrieved September 5, 2012, from https://www.budde.com.au/Research/2010-World-Digital-Economy-E-Commerce-and-M-Commerce-Trends.html?r=51
 
New Media Consortium. (n.d.). Horizon Report 2012. 2012 Higher Education Edition (pp. 1–4).
 
Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2012). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (6th ed.). Allyn & Bacon.
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