Colorizing History. Technological Dilemmas.

dilemaTechnology is allowing teachers to not just tear down the walls that surround their classroom, it also is allowing improved ways to present content. For the language classroom, images are an essential tool to generate conversation, contextualize vocabulary and build critical thinking skills.

I’ve always cheerled my own powerpoint of “Best/Iconic photos of all time” as a great set of images to generate language and discussion/study. Now, many of these same photos are being colorized given technology that makes the process much easier. This is leading to some interesting moral, social, philosophical and educational questions and controversy (read more about this).

Take a look at the photos below contrasting the original black and white version and the “colorized” version. Besides the issues of appropriateness for classroom teachers, there are many questions about the colorizing of history that arise. Does the color version give the students a wrong image of history? Do we have the right to alter history in this way? Would you use the color versions in class without noting they aren’t truly the original?  What of the people in the photos – do they have rights, can we alter them without their family’s consent?

As teachers, it is important to  not use technology in our teaching without thinking about the consequences of its use.  Just like anything you “deliver” in class, technology should go through the same process of critical thought on the part of the teacher. That something is “ed tech” doesn’t mean it has no negative consequences or gets a free pass.

Here are just a few of the many questions technology has forced educators to consider:

1. Is social media a valuable, “constructive” tool to use with students or a path towards distraction and chatter that poses as learning?

2. Should students use Wikipedia as a reliable source and reference?  Can crowd sourced knowledge be reliable? Who should be the gatekeepers of knowledge and facts?

3.  Cell phones help students access information. But can they properly be allowed in class given they can be used in non-educational ways?

4.  Many tech tools take time to learn how to use. Is it worth the pay off in terms of time, introducing them into class?

5.  Cost. Do you use free stuff that has advertisements that may not be appropriate for students?

If you liked this post, you may enjoy – 50 Ways To Use Images In Class.






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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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