Technology has evolved at a very rapid pace over the last 20 years, as more and more applications come to light. Has technology enhanced learning, or is there so many platforms out there that are ever evolving we don’t know where to start, and then ultimately stick to the same old? I do believe technology enhances learning if implemented effectively, and taught how to use these implemented platforms.
Technology has its place in the classroom, and students seem to perk up when we say movie or computers, notably increasing engagement. However, technology does not always enhance learning as students can become easily distracted, cause a lack of social skills, and now more than ever the rise of mental health issues are on the rise. Beginning this debate I immediately, without a thought, clicked agree to technology enhancing learning, surprisingly after the debate I leaned more to the disagree side. The disagree and agree sides portrayed their positions remarkably well to show how technology can both enhance and impede learning in the classroom.
Technology Enhances Learning
- Students can learn at their own pace:
Emma Cullen in the article What is Technology Enhanced Learning provides relevant ideas on how students can learn differently in the classroom. We all know that not every student learns at the same pace nor do they learn the same way, for this reason technology enables children to adjust to their own pace of learning. Furthermore, software applications allow students to focus on one exercise as long as they need till they understand, as a result freeing up the teacher to help students that need extra support. We all know that there are diverse needs in the classroom and only one teacher, in that event some students do not get the help they need depending on classroom sizes, as well as varying different grades in one classroom. Oh the other hand, students who need enrichment can also challenge themselves with software applications.
“Technology in education enables children to adjust to their own pace of learning.”What is Technology Enhanced Learning – Emma Cullen
- Skills for Success in the Real World:
Technology continues to grow and flourish, therefore there will be more and more careers that will require the use of technology. When children are introduced to technology at a younger age they are more adaptable, comfortable and prepares them for these future endeavors. In preparation for the real world and the changing dynamics I think about my parents verses their children and then their grandchildren – my nephew can run a iPad better than me – each generation becomes better equipped with technology as they are introduced at a younger age.
“Children can start getting technological skills early that they’ll need in the future.”Impact of technology on kids today (and tomorrow).
- Engagement of Students:
Technology motivates students to learn from different platforms from watching a video (visual aid) to engaging in Gizmos (application based).
“Modern technology also motivates students to learn, students can learn and have fun at the same time, which helps them stay engaged with the material.”The Positive & negative Effects of Technology on Education and In Classroom in 2022
As the agree side stated, technology is constantly evolving, therefore various technology is more current than the textbooks we rely on in our classrooms. These textbooks are projecting material from only one lens, whereas when you research a topic you can get a multitude of perspectives about the same topic. Students engagement level is heightened when watching a video, as opposed to reading a textbook daily – as I used to do mostly in high school. I remember the joy we would feel when those old projectors or TV carts would be pulled to our room – phew something different! Humans alike do not like mundane repetitive tasks, so why would our students?
Technology Does Not Enhance Learning
- Lower Attention Spans
“The immediacy of technological interactions make waiting harder for children.”Impact of technology on kids today (and tomorrow).
Have you ever had your patience tested when a website will not open immediately? Technology moves very fast which is adjusting our wait time/down time, ultimately leading to shorter attention spans. The rate at which technology moves allows students to have something to entertain them, on the contrary in the classroom there are wait times as the transitions are not as smooth or at the pace of the other students. Furthermore, as attention spans are lowered adjustments may need to be made for only focusing 10 minutes on one activity and faster transitions. Feel the need for speed!
- Lack of Social Skills
As more time is spent online, and most of their communication is being done through social media platforms, children are struggling with face-to-face interactions. Have you ever been in a restaurant and seen a group of teenagers at the same table? Generally, this group of teenagers are not interacting verbally, instead they are all on their phones. Most children spend more time texting as opposed to meeting in-person, which is creating social anxiety in many youth.
“Isolation of students in a digital and virtual world that distances them from any form of social interaction”.Four Ways Technology Has Negatively Changed Education – Alhumaid
- Other Negative Impacts
Four Ways Technology Has Negatively Changed Education – Alhumaid
• Deterioration of students’ competencies in reading, writing, and arithmetic, which are the basic three skills any student is expected to master;
• Dehumanization of education in many environments and distortion of the relationship between teachers and students;
• Deepening of social inequalities between the haves and the have-nots that is students who can possess technology and those who cannot.
- Mental Health on the Rise & Bullying
The use of technology has lead to depression, anxiety in all forms, as well as suicide, coupled with cyber bullying, which further heightens these mental health concerns. Students used to be able to escape bullying, as it was limited to the school day, whereas in the 21st century there is no escape from cyber bullying. Furthermore, not being able to escape bullying this alone can impede on one’s mental health. I strongly believe that technology has enhanced these mental health concerns, although I am unsure about the role technology in the classroom impacts these concerns.
After hearing and reading about both sides of the coin I still believe technology has the opportunity to enhance learning in the classroom. Albeit, technology must be introduced in a way that will enhance learning effectively and implemented strategically. Technology is not a babysitter for teachers, but rather an enhancing tool to help enrich and supplement diverse learning needs in the classroom. Teachers should be teaching boundaries and expectations of the various different technological platforms being used within the classroom to allow technology to enhance learning. I do, however see the downside to technology as well, and with proper guidance and implementation technology can indeed enhance learning in the classroom.
“Technology is not a babysitter for teachers, but rather an enhancing tool to help enrich and supplement diverse learning needs in the classroom.” This line really stuck out to me in your post. even in 2022, I still see people using technology as a “babysitter” or time filler. I am guilty of doing this in the past, but I have changed how I use technology. I use it as enhancement for my students learning. I have had the privilege of taking Educational Technology courses through my master program which gave me ways to use technology for my students learning rather than for me to have a “break”. I believe teacher training on how to use technology in order to enhance student learning is essential for all teachers.
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Hi Britney! Great post. You covered many arguments for both sides. Your comment about teenagers out at a restaurant being on their phones rather than interacting in person is alarming. I have seen it too! This lack of face-to-face social interaction is sure to impact youth as they move through life. One example I can think of, is more and more students asking to have a friend come along in a new or unfamiliar situation, or stand by them, as an “emotional support” person when they are doing a presentation. It makes me wonder about their ability to cope with stress and anxiety and how they will handle this outside of a school setting. Thanks for covering so many great points!
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Hey Britney! Great post! Speaking about learning at your own pace is one of my favourite aspects about using technology in the classroom. Although it doesn’t work well in my current role, I’ve had the opportunity to see how some classrooms (both online and face to face,) have structured nearly the entirety of a semester to be worked on at the student’s pace. As long as progress is being made, I see that as a great way to potentially alleviate some of the anxiety that is present in classes where students may see themselves as not learning fast enough (particularly math!) It’s something I’d love to explore more in the future.
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