Technology in the classroom has been a hot debate among educators. Some are all for it, saying that it’ll help students learn faster and easier. Others believe that it’ll just be a distraction and students won’t learn a thing.
Evolution of Technology in the Classroom
It’s easy to forget that technology in the classroom has always been around. It’s just in different forms.
In the colonial years, wooden paddles with lessons printed on them, called Horn-Books, were used to teach students.
Over 200 years later, the latest in tech was the Magic Lantern. It was a primitive version of a projector.
Chalkboards didn’t come around until 1890, and the pencil in 1900. So it’s clear that education needs to keep evolving and technology is a key part of that.
Pros of Using Technology in the Classroom
If used properly, there are a lot of benefits of technology in the classroom.
1. Streamlining Tedious Tasks
Those small but necessary tasks like taking attendance and tracking grades can be made so much easier with technology. By making it easier, there will be more time to actually teach students.
2. Helps Students Prep for the Real World
Once they are out of school, students will be in the real world, one that uses technology a lot. In fact, many jobs want you to be good at basic programs like Microsoft Office, knowing how to use the internet and other aspects of using computers.
Wouldn’t it better for students to learn these skills in a safe place like school? Mistakes won’t have such high consequences.
3. Increasing Student Engagement
Using technology in the right way will make learning more fun, therefore more engaging. Instead of lengthy lectures, teachers can make more use of videos and images when teaching.
Technology would also allow students to solve problems on their own.
4. Learning at Their Pace
We have the technology that can help students learn at their own pace. There are a lot of websites and apps that can help teach students both inside and outside the classroom.
If any students have a learning disability they could use their computer to record the lecture and be able to play it back as they study.
These capabilities can be relieving to the teacher trying to give individual attention to each student in an overcrowded class.
5. Getting Guest Speakers
Using technology would allow guest speakers to join the class more easily. Instead of having to worry about travel and lodging, the teacher and speaker can connect through an app like Skype. Then they can give a virtual lecture from the comfort of their own home.
Cons of Using Technology in the Classroom
While technology is great, there are still some bugs in applying them to classrooms. If teachers aren’t properly prepared, then there is no point in having it there.
Students can easily get distracted with technology. Instead of studying, they could go on social networks or play YouTube videos.
In fact, having laptops in classrooms is a hot debate on its own. Some educators think that they should be banned. Others say that it’s the student’s responsibility to pay attention and banning them could hurt the students that actually use them for class.
2. Could Tech Make Students Less Social?
There is a concern that technology will cause students to interact less with one another. Some people are even worried that they won’t talk to each other, instead, they will message each other on their mobile devices.
This could hinder students’ ability to verbally communicate to others, which could cause some tough times as they grow up.
3. Easier to Cheat?
While some students will always find a way to cheat, the digital age makes it easier. For example, copying and pasting someone else’s paper.
Some students go as far as hiring someone to write their essay for them through an online essay mill.
4. Not Having Equal Access
Unless provided by the school, not every student will have access to mobile devices to bring to class. They will need to use the library where they will have to share the devices with other students.
It will also lower their self-esteem because they feel less than the other students.
5. More Screen Time
Another concern is that students will spend too much time looking at screens. This could affect their eyes, sleep patterns, and brain development.
Up to the Educators
Ultimately it’s up to educators to use technology to the best of its ability. They can create lessons that are better adapted to technology. They could schedule screen time breaks so students aren’t sitting all day staring at screens.
Before making any decisions, teachers and students should be able to give their opinion on this matter.