It seems that everyone is screaming for more technology in the classroom. There is one question that deserves an honest answer: How does technology integration in the classroom, actually in the hands of kids, benefit students? This question is important because it puts the emphasis on the students.
First, look at some of the cons for having technology integration in the classroom:
- Every child has a computer or tablet and the teacher is explaining what they will be doing that day—establishing “set” or explaining what the day’s lesson will be about, but Sally is fiddling with her tech device and not paying attention.
- Some people believe that staring at a screen during school hours just compounds an already existing problem. Children get too much screen time and not enough face time so they don’t learn how to interact with other people.
- There is fear that people are tapping a different part of their brain when they solve problems using computers than when they use paper and pencil. If that is true, what will happen if a student is expected to solve problems using their brains and a pencil in the future? That skill may not have been learned appropriately.
- Too often, computers are used in very limited ways in classroom settings. When they are not used as search engines students primarily use them for word processing.
Classroom Benefits for the Use of Technology
- We live in a technological world, where it is becoming increasingly difficult to go through a day without utilizing technology of some sort. Technology provides students with an effective way to learn. Students can look up specific information or questions from a teacher, find answers, and do more research without even leaving their desk. Less time is wasted and a student with a curiosity keeps that sense of wonder because they get to learn faster.
- For most professions, and certainly for many students who will go into the military and college, technology will be a big part of their lives. The more opportunities and exposure a child has to technology at school, the less intimidated they will be by technology as they grow up and the more prepared they will be for their occupation.
- Technology allows any student more opportunities to learn at their own pace. Students who are slower to understand a lesson can have a teacher work with them, then sit at their desk and do programs that teach the necessary skills until they understand a lesson or concept better. At the same time, students who learn faster than the rest of the class can sit at their desk and do more advanced studying so they are challenged and don’t get bored.
- When used in conjunction with lessons taught by the teacher, technology is an effective learning tool which can increase student engagement, save time and support future job skills.
Technology is much like every other tool in a classroom: some people see it as a benefit and others see it as a distraction. Math teachers used to complain that calculators were not appropriate for students to use in class because they made problems “too easy”, whereas now it is the norm to use this kind of technology in learning. To learn how to use appropriately use technology in the classroom, check out an online MEd in Technology Integration degree from Graceland University.