By Teachers, For Teachers
Technology in the classroom is now a part of the education system, and no matter how much value you may think that it adds to your classroom, there will always be skeptics that will say otherwise. If you’re a supporter of technology in the classroom, then you probably already know all of the wonderful benefits it has for students, like increased motivation and self-esteem as well as the ability to work collaboratively with peers. While the support for technology in the classroom keep mounting, there are still a few skeptics that would like to keep education on the traditional side. If you’re looking to educate yourself on this widespread debate, we’re breaking down the pros and cons of both sides of this argument.
One the main advantages of using technology in the classroom is the ability to customize student learning to meet the needs of all students. As you may know, every student learns differently, and using technology gives teachers the ability to adapt their lesson plans to suit each individual student’s needs. There are countless computer programs and apps on the market that are available to track students’ progress and figure out how each student learns best. Technology has the capability to determine if a student can progress in a subject or if they need more help. With 20 or more students at a time to think about, it’s quite difficult for teachers to be able to differentiate learning for all of their students at the same time. However, when using technology, teachers can easily meet the needs of all learners with just a simple tap of their finger or a click of a button.
Another “Pro” of using technology in the classroom is that it saves teachers time. There’s no denying that teachers are busy people, from grading papers and planning lessons to sending out messages to parents and students, there are a lot of tedious tasks that must be done each day. So instead of being stuck with all of these responsibilities themselves, teachers can hand of some of these tasks to their technological devices. There are tools, programs, and apps that can help with grading, lesson planning, and instantly sending messages to students and their parents. All of these tasks that used to take teachers so much time, can now be done in seconds or even preset by the teacher, freeing up so of their time to focus on their students.
Today’s technology gives us access to an immeasurable amount of information online. If you want to learn about something -- anything -- all you have to do is Google it. Technology has destroyed the limitation that textbooks once had with the ability for individuals to look up anything of their choosing. Long gone are the days of searching through textbooks and encyclopedias -- today’s classrooms can learn about anything they desire in a matter of seconds through the use of technology.
Those who are against the use of technology in the classroom say excessive use can promote antisocial situations. These individuals are afraid that students will lose their ability to communicate in a social situation because of their constant use of technology. Students need interpersonal skills, and when you give them technological devices in school, this can limit the time they get to spend interacting with their peers therefore condoning antisocial behavior.
It’s easy to block out the outside world when you’re enthralled in technology, especially when you’re playing a game on the iPad. So those who are against technology in the classroom say that it can be quite a distraction for students. Proponents argue that many students have a better understanding of technology than they do, and even if the teacher was to establish rules or place filters on the classroom devices, they claim their students would still find a way around it to text their friends or play games on their devices. If technology is going to be used inside of the classroom, then there has to be a balance or blocking software put into place so it couldn’t be a distraction for the students.
Technology may look like it’s easy to come by, and that every person on the planet has access to it, but that’s not always the case. Many schools just don’t have the funds yet. If a teacher wanted to assign homework that involved the use of technology outside of the classroom, they would have to ensure that all students had access to it. For those that didn’t, this would promote inequality.
Whether you’re “For” or “Against” educational technology in the classroom, it’s important to consider all of the pros and the cons. In the end, it’s up to you to decide what or how much to use technology in your classroom. At the end of the day, you need to make the best choice for your students.
What is your position on this topic? Are you for or against the use of technology in the classroom? Please share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section below, we’d love to hear what you have to say.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.