Technology can be a benefit to learning but also has some drawbacks. Do you think that students learn more and faster with technology like tablets and laptops at their desk? Is all of this technology engaging more students than the old-fashioned way of teaching or is all this technology a distraction? Let’s explore!
Tablets and Laptops
Does having technology like tablets or laptops help students learn better or is it a distraction? Schools like ours use iPads to help students learn more with the benefit of the internet and apps that supply more resources than what otherwise would be available. Also, the internet can help explain and teach a lesson or anything that students might forget from class or need to improve on. Textbooks are great resources but it can take very long to flip through each page to find the answer, when technology can get the answer to you in seconds. If you have a question, you can message or email the teacher quickly without waiting till the next day to receive your answer. Tablets and laptops make it easier for students to write down information compared to using a pencil and paper. Tablets and laptops can prevent students from having access to non-educational websites or games. Technology makes learning more interesting and unique.
Are tablets and laptops distracting students from learning? Tablets and laptops are great learning resources but students get distracted by the variety of apps available. When you use technology like tablets and laptops, you risk losing all your work if something goes wrong. Technology has now improved with backing up your tablet or laptop to the “cloud” so you don’t lose everything, but still, anything can break and delete by accident. If the students have restrictions on their laptops and tablets, they will find another way to play games and other non-educational activities. According to the response from students from the New York Times, many teachers like the idea of tablets and laptops so students can look up information, but many teachers have a hard time getting their students to turn off their tablets during class. Students can sometimes switch to non-educational apps without the teacher being aware. If every school was able to purchase tablets or laptops for all their students, they would have to think about all the possible drawbacks. There are many serious pros and cons when putting technology in the hands of young minds.
Is technology taking away students communication skills? Communication skills are very important to learn and to use in life. Students are so wrapped up in technology that they can’t think about how to talk to someone face to face. Technology is a very fast tool to use, but everyone has to also know how to respectfully engage with people like their parents and teachers in the real world, like looking them in the eyes and being polite to them. Many students text their friends with emojis and abbreviations or curse words, but when talking to teachers or anyone in the real world it is not appropriate. If students only learn how to communicate with technology, they are not going to be successful when engaging to teachers, parents or bosses when applying for jobs. Technology can be overpowering and prevent your real life skills from developing.
When it comes to technology in the classroom, there is much improvement. Today, many schools use technological boards like SMART Boards, Promethean boards and ActivBoards for delivering instruction. These boards are easy access boards that display information quickly for students to think and write upon. Boards like these are connected to a specific computer and from one click you can receive any information or answers quickly. Students are able to share their ideas through these boards to other classmates in seconds so others can use and respond off the information. Teachers are able to write notes down for the students very quickly and add anything in a second by picking up a marker and writing. These methods make learning in a classroom interesting and faster.
Technology can take the boredom out of homework with apps that are fun, but still teach the students. You might think that technology is just something that everyone uses for fun and because it includes so much content that is provided. In our school, North Shore Middle School, the teachers use websites to post the homework so if a student forgets what is for homework they can look it up the website. Also, the web can answer questions that students might have from the homework and all they have to do is search that topic and many answers come up to answer their question. Technology provides apps to help student learn certain information, like the app Duolingo that helps students learn languages, or Khan Academy that helps any student in any grade learn certain topics in any subject. Technology is a great resource to help students learn more in the best way possible.
When it comes to homework, many students try to avoid it the best they can by using other technology like phones and their iPads to distract them. Homework requires a lot of effort and takes time, but you can’t let technology take the blame for your decision to not do it. There is so much to technology that many students get distracted very easily. Technology is taking over the distraction of students when learning. Technology is useful sometimes, but technology is not always needed for everything.
photo credit: hallr.com