Sunday, March 1, 2009

Clark vs. Kozma Debate Reflection

I believe the Clark side did an excellent job of conveying the points we wanted to get across in the debate. Even the judges said it was hard to put aside their biases and prejudices. Richard Clark was right, it was definitely an "uphill slog". I was part of rebuttal team with Deanne and Joseph. Each one of us covered certain aspects of the debate. I chose to address the examples that were given in the debate. The areas I covered were the truck analogy, the brother who learned from television, and the special education angle. I ended by quoting the response I got from Richard Clark in response to my blog about the upcoming debate.

The truck analogy was changed into a refrigerated truck that broke down and what was inside began to rot. The argument was for media does influence learning. I countered with it is the delivery system that can change for the desired learning or learner, but it still doesn't prove that media influences learning. Though not enough information was given about the brother who learned English from television, I countered with it was the inherent instructional method taught to the brother in his primary language. Not having all of the information about the brother made my argument weak. The third point was the special education angle as it pertained specifically for a blind student. I argued that the media used was necessary for that learner. Clark was not against using technology or media to use with instructional methods.

My whole focus was rebutting the the breaking apart of the media and the instructional method. In that instance, I don't believe I was effective because I was not able to sway the judges. As the Clark team, we were hamstrung by the fact that there really wasn't any current research to back up what Clark's position is. The judges were looking for quantity of research cited and how current it was. We were only able to cite two studies to support our argument and they were not current studies.

The Kozma team did a great job of giving examples at the end of the debate about future technologies. We were not able to rebut these claims that these new technologies influence learning. There wasn't any evidence saying that it did influence. There was a semantic argument put forth at the end of the debate that changed "influence" to "enhance". Enhance means to make better and influence means to affect. They are not the same. refers to enhance as "[t]o provide with improved, advanced, or sophisticated features" and influence as " the action or process of producing effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of another or others". I would, however, agree that media does enhance learning, but not influence it. Enhance only proves the media attribute argument that Clark has put forth in the debate with Kozma.

So, in my opinion, it was not proven without a doubt that media influences learning. The argument which started as a debate about influence changed to enhanced. The debate continues...

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