Does Technology in the Classroom Enhance Learning?

Technology in the classroom can

  • Improve access to teachers and students to more up to date learning resources and to materials at any time and anywhere
  • Enhances communication and feedback between teachers, students, and parents
  • Restructure teacher time. There is less time on whole class instruction, marking, tracking and reporting
  • Extend purpose and audience for student work
  • Shifts teacher and student roles. It decreases the reliance on the teacher to provide answer and content and shift the role of guiding students to manage their own learning

(McKnight, O’Malley, Ruzic, Horsley, Franey & Bassett, 2016)

  • Creates fast and easy access to information resources, which can engage the user through interactivity and make it ways to process, analyze and share information

(Smithee)

  • May lower school costs, make marking more efficient and even raise student satisfaction

(Maclean’s, 2010)

  • Allow you to experiment more in pedagogy and get instant feedback
  • Helps ensure full participation
  • Countless resources for enhancing education and making learning more fun and effective
  • Technology can automate a lot of tedious tasks
  • Students have instant access to fresh information that can supplement their learning experience
  • It is a life skill

(Himmelsbach, 2018)

On the other hand

  • Equipping a classroom with computers or supplying the entire student body with technology is a significant cost. Along with the intimal cost, there are costs for maintaining networks, maintaining the computers and routinely upgrading hardware and software. Bring your own device may not be an option as families may not be able to afford it.
  • The time taken away for training teachers to keep their computer skills up to date takes time away from teachers being able to teach.
  • Students might spend more time and effort on the presentation than researching the subject and complete the project knowing very little about the subject. Participation and enthusiasm do not necessarily lead to learning. E-texts can be less interactive than paper textbooks. May not allow highlighting, notes, etc.
  • Games on devices, text messaging, email and websites all compete for student’s attention, taking away from what they should be focusing on. Students can also be exposed to inappropriate online materials or predators in online places such as chat rooms.

(Smithee)

  • No evidence that technology actually leads to higher marks for students.
  • Students who used laptops in class spent considerable time multitasking and that laptop use posed a significant distraction to both users and fellow students. The level of laptop use was negatively related to several measures of student learning.
  • Texting students took longer to perform simple tasks such as reading a written passage than those who did not.
  • PowerPoint lectures and clickers had no discernable impact on marks.
  • Can’t produce better grades.

(Maclean’s, 2010)

  • Can be a distraction
  • Can disconnect students from social interactions
  • Can foster cheating in class and on assignments
  • Don’t have equal access to technological resources
  • The quality of research and sources they find may not be top-notch
  • Lesson planning might become more labor-intensive with technology

(Himmelsbach, 2018)

Overall

It is important to set strict rules of acceptable conduct or blocking access when it’s not appropriate. There is a difference between integrating wireless devices into the curriculum and simply inviting students to bring whatever tech they may have to class. Keep in mind, not every student owns a smartphone.

We know, technology will never replace the timeless need for skilled teachers capable of catching the attention of easily distracted students and engaging their minds.

(Maclean’s, 2010)

The key to technology in the classroom is always going to be the teacher-student relationship because that’s where education happens. Technology can be a highly effective tool; sensible use of technology can enhance education. Can create a flexible environment that breeds innovation. Technology in education can open does to new experiences, new discoveries and new ways of learning and collaborating.

(Himmelsbach, 2018)

 

Source Citations

“Don’t give students more tools of mass distraction.” Maclean’s, 4 Oct. 2010, p. 6+. Expanded Academic ASAP, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A238750345/EAIM?u=ureginalib&sid=EAIM&xid=df9d3fda. Accessed 21 May 2018.

McKnight, K., O’Malley, K., Ruzic, R., Horsely, M. K., Franey, J. J. & Bassett, K. (2016). Teaching in a digital age: How educators use technology to improve student learning. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 48:3, 194-211.

Himmelsback, V. (2018). 6 pros & cons of technology in the classroom 2018. Top Hat. https://tophat.com/blog/6-pros-cons-technology-classroom/. Accessed 21 May 2018.

Smithee, T. Negative Effects of Using Technology in Today’s Classroom. It Still Works. https://itstillworks.com/negative-effects-using-technology-todays-classroom-1549.html. Accessed 21 May 2018.

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