Education ∪ Math ∪ Technology

Is this a necessary use of technology?

Steve Wheeler shared this video on his blog after describing constructionist learning theory. I’m not really clear on what, if anything, this robot adds to the activity of playing Snakes & Ladders. What would be different about this activity if students had to move a marker instead of pressing buttons on the robot to get it to move? Is this a necessary use of technology, or an extravagance?

I tend to lean toward the latter for this particular example. I am a supporter of technology use in schools, but we need to be thoughtful about our use of technology and given it’s expense, try and choose technologies which we can see will have an impact on student learning, rather than technologies which can be easily replaced with something far cheaper.

Can you see other ways that this particular technology could be used in a more powerful way, one which will impact student learning, and which requires this technology?