Technology is used just about everywhere you look, but incorporating it in the classroom has long been a controversial subject. Technical skills are just as important in the 21st-century workplace as reading, writing, and arithmetic, and access to technology brings several advantages to learners of all types. On the other hand, there are potential pitfalls of distributing training and even learners themselves via technology.
This article will explore the pros and cons of technology in the classroom, beginning with the advantages before shifting to the potential disadvantages. Let’s get started!
When most people think of tech in schools, they imagine students taking notes on laptops or iPads instead of a traditional notebook. These tools help ensure that students can read their notes when it’s time to study, and “digitally-native” learners may feel more comfortable working in an electronic format. However, this is not the only example of assistive technology in schools.
Electronic devices also allow students to access the material traditionally found in a textbook, helping students and educational institutions save money. Likewise, you won’t miss the expense of printing worksheets if your students can complete those assignments online. Furthermore, educational software with gamification elements can more effectively engage students than a tattered textbook, motivating learners to pay attention. You can start lessons with a fun quiz to figure out where your learners are or incorporate video and audio to make more memorable lessons.
The internet can also make it easier for students to collaborate. Finding the time for group projects can be difficult considering the constraints of the traditional school year, but remote learning tools like video breakout rooms and message boards allow students to meet up outside of school hours. Working virtually can also help shy students contribute to the group more easily.
Technology can help educators work more efficiently as well. For example, many teachers spend time marking student papers and tracking grades when learning management systems can automate much of this process. Educational technology can also provide real-time feedback on student performance, giving instructors the evidence they need to help students overcome any learning obstacles they are experiencing.
Giving students access to the internet during lectures can tempt them to check their social media feeds instead of focusing on course content. Some advocates say that instructors should make their lessons so engaging that students will resist, but that isn’t realistic advice in all cases. Instead, consider educational software that only provides access to approved resources and games to eliminate potential distractions.
Students have found ways to skirt the rules since the dawn of time, but working online makes it easier to copy and paste someone else’s essay or hire an essay writer at a content mill. Thankfully, technology also offers solutions to these problems in the form of plagiarism checkers like TurnItIn to ensure issues are caught quickly and easily.
Accessibility is another common concern. Some students don’t have access to the devices necessary to display ebooks or collaborate with their peers, and others may not have consistent access to Wi-Fi. Schools can provide these tools to students in need, but they don’t have unlimited budgets either and have to recognize the significant up-front cost even if they’ll save money long-term. This holds for teachers too who need training in educational tools before they can be expected to effectively utilize them in their classrooms.
At Turning, our experience in the education industry leads us to conclude that technology can be a vital educational tool. Traditional learning tends to be far too passive while technology can help ensure an interactive learning environment if deployed correctly. Likewise, technology offers remote learning opportunities that allow learners and instructors to work when and where they want to, promoting flexibility. We’ve built these ideas into our e³ philosophy of equity, evidence, and engagement to facilitate a great learning experience for everybody. If you would like to learn more about this approach in action, check out Dojo360: a learning engagement platform embodying our educational philosophy.