Shall we use technology in the classroom? And how much is too much?
I believe that using technology in the classroom can be a great asset to any teaching experience. Many, many moons ago, and before technology made its way into the classrooms, teachers had minimal resources that they could use to make teaching more engaging. They relied heavily on books from the local library, nature walks, posters, taxidermy mounts, overhead projectors and very rarely they would have access to an ‘8mm’ or ’16mm’ film running of a projector.
Today’s classrooms are so much more fun and engaging. Teachers not only have access to interactive whiteboards, Youtube channels and online libraries but even better, we have an abundance of free apps and resources on our fingertips! Fun, interactive resources that allow students to engage in the learning process.
I support the idea of using technology in the classroom because I believe that technology allows for more active learning and student engagements. Applications like Padlet, Socrative and Plickers allow students to upload their responses and to share them with their classmates for review and thus enhance collaboration among students. Another great feature is that it allows teachers to create tests, questionnaires or track students’ progress.
More importantly, however, including technology ensures full participation from all students, because even the shy students who would never speak up in class may be able to contribute to the class content and learning experience so much more.
Another benefit of using technology in the classroom is that it frees up time that otherwise would be spent on tedious tasks such as taking attendance for instance and thus allowing for greater interaction and collaboration. Applications such as Top Hat offer a secure digital environment and manage grades and track test results automatically.
However, one may argue that using technology in the classroom will put students even longer in front of a screen, and thus reducing social interactions. I can see how this could happen if the technology is used to replace teacher interactions and when there is not a healthy balance between screen and face to face time. In the same way, teachers may try to use technology in lieu of good classroom management skills and someone may argue that technology may not be used to the fullest or may be used for the wrong reasons, thus adding destruction instead of rich learning experiences.
In my mind, there are many reasons why a teacher should use digital devices and applications in the classroom, but the most important one is that technology is such an integrated part of everyday life and enhances students’ engagement.
However, using technology without teaching students how to use them properly, may result in a high degree of frustration and thus develop a fear towards using them. Future employers will expect their employees to be tech-savvy and thus I think that it is important to teach students how to use technology and apps and should be a mandatory part of the curriculum for all ages.
In conclusion, I think that the method used for introducing new apps and technology in the classroom plays a crucial role in the overall learning experience. Teachers need to ensure that they know the application themselves and if problems arise need to be open-minded and flexible enough to turn them into a teachable moment.