Technology in the Classroom
Technology, Is it a good thing or a bad thing?
Technology in education is a new concept that honestly is changing the direction of education. But now the debate is more present than ever as schools and classrooms incorporate more and more technology. On one hand, technology allows you to engage students using a variety of tools and resources. On the other hand, some argue technology in the classroom is a distraction, not useful, a crutch, a method for cheating. Technology is everywhere in education and by far the biggest debate in regards to having vs. not having it.
What does technology use in the classroom look like?
Now days, students have technology at every disposal. They have grown up with it and do not understand life without it. Life with technology and technology in the classroom can sometimes look a bit different. Classroom technology can help facilitate learning objectives based on data generated by an online quiz your students just took. It can be engaging and fun all at the same time. However some may see it as a distraction and an unnecessary tool to be used in the classroom. I mean come on, give a middle schooler a phone to complete an assignment and expect them not to be enticed to check their social media accounts or send a quick text message. The desire to some, to do more than just the assignment, is overwhelming.
The Upside to Technology in the Classroom
Technology in the classroom allows you to explore and engage in different ways.
Technology allows for almost instant results. You are able to poll or quiz your students and get instant feedback. Technology can help teachers find which students aren’t “getting it” and course correct before moving on leaving a student behind. A great resource for data collection and clickers is ALL In Learning which helps schools gather data quickly and easily which then allows for collaboration across the campus.
It also allows your students to open up a wide range of information by researching using different search websites, or even websites geared toward specific content. Technology allows them to broaden their knowledge because of the vast amount of information they are able to access.
Technology in the classroom is geared towards 100% engagement.
Using technology allows students to feel comfortable in the classroom. You can send in a quick answer vs. raising your hand and answering in front of the entire classroom. It takes the pressure off if you are wrong. It also allows teachers to better gauge where their students are in regards to specific content. You can poll your students before the lesson and see their level of understanding and help build your lessons off of that information. You can also do the same thing at the end of class to see the percentage of students who understood that days lesson or concept, then build your next lessons based off of that information.
Technology can help manage administration tasks.
As a teacher you have 1000 things to accomplish on a daily basis. Having technology available and to utilize its benefits allows you to take off some of those annoying tasks and complete them in one fail swoop or automatically vs. having to input all of the information one by one. Being able to communicate with your students about upcoming assignments using an app called REMIND ME, which can send a text to all of your students by just having them sign up using an email. You can also have your parents sign up and eliminate a constant flow of emails. Communication is key and technology in the classroom can definitely help successfully achieve good communication.
The Down-side to Technology in the Classroom
Technology can be a distraction
The fact of having your phone sitting out or your computer to take notes allows for a constant temptation to possible do other things than the assignment at hand. Structures and procedures as to how technology is going to be used on specific assignments or in the classroom in general need to be addressed almost for every assignment. Being specific in what you expect of your students and having rules in place for technology can help, but does not completely eliminate the problem of distraction. You will always have some that just can’t turn down the temptation to wander.
Technology takes away the ability to have to think
When using technology students have access to so much information that by just typing in a simple key word, all of the research is done for them. Using technology takes away their reasoning for critical thinking. When things are easy, you do not have to try or apply yourself as much. Technology can sometimes be a crutch for the students. Technology is great when used correctly to achieve certain goals for your classroom. It is the teacher’s job to understand what he/she wants the class to accomplish and use technology but also remember there is also learning that can occur using other resources as well. We live in a day that people are addicted to their screens and have lost social skills and abilities to communicate. Foster a learning environment that embraces technology and other skills together.
Technology is not available for everyone
Depending on where you teach you may or may not have access to certain types of technology. Some schools have classroom sets of ipads or computers, while other schools have 2 sets for the entire campus. This is important to think about when planning your lessons utilizing technology. There are also technical issues that could arise and make accomplishing your lessons much more difficult. Flexibility is key when dealing with technology in the classroom. Most students will have a phone, but you will encounter a large number of those that don’t. This presents challenges in the classroom, when having students share their personal technology.
Technology, Is it a good thing or a bad thing?
To close to call! As a teacher you must design your lessons to be engaging and flexible that creates a learning environment conducive to all students. Technology is an added bonus to the lesson you have already created that will provide additional support. It should not replace you as the teacher and the benefits of teaching your classroom. The success of technology in the classroom is based off of the foundation to the reason it is being used in the first place. Do not lose sight of your lesson objectives; technology is an instrument that when used right can create and open up a world of engagement and knowledge.
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