The personal learning network for educators
There's no doubt about it: we live in the age of technology. We have learned to do things more quickly, more efficiently, and more conveniently. Our lives are made easier and we are able to accomplish more in less time. This "information age" has infiltrated most every part of our lives and it's difficult to imagine life without the Internet, computers, smartphones, and tablets.
There has been much controversy regarding technology in the classroom. Many educators, usually more traditional in nature, are hesitant to completely embrace the concept, while others feel that it's the only right thing to do. As time goes on and technology continues to advance, it is likely that we will continue to see more of these tools used in the classroom. However, should we embrace technological advancement in the classroom or should we be cautious? Here are some pros and cons of bringing new technologies into the classroom.
1. Provides new and exciting ways to teach in the classroom.
Technology allows teachers to get away from the books and the blackboard to teach students in a way that may be more fun and exciting for them. Some websites and apps provide an innovative learning experience for students, which can promote more interest in their educational experience. Eight independent studies show that students learn more effectively when they are working with an iPad.
2. Helps students learn more independently.
The Internet continues to become more user-friendly. While one must always consider the sources of information, the fact remains that if a student needs information about a particular subject, he or she will likely find it online. Students find this very refreshing, as they can work by themselves to get the answers they need without asking their teachers or parents for help.
3. Helps students prepare for the future.
As was stated earlier, technology will continue to increase. It is the job of educators to help prepare their students for the world in which they will have to work and live. Teaching students to use technology on a real and practical level will help them as they decide upon careers in their future. Those without this advantage will be far behind their more advanced colleagues.
4. Innumerable resources.
The Internet provides more resources than we can even image. Regardless of the topic, it's easy to find hundreds of articles, videos, books, and more online. When a student has a thirst for knowledge, he or she can easily find hours’ worth of research, reading, and listening on the Internet. The more one learns, the more one desires to learn, and the Internet is the perfect means to allow that process to take place.
5. It's more fun for everyone.
If you are learning about history, the facts can be made more interesting and exciting if you watch a YouTube video or play an online game about the subject. Most students welcome any type of technological approach in the classroom. Tablets, computers, and mobile phones are very attractive to students because they enjoy the overall experience of the lights, sounds, and action of the mobile devices.
1. Diminished hands-on experience.
While the Internet provides such a wealth of information, there is often a distance or disconnect when one is working online. The tangible act of feeling, smelling, and reading an actual book provides sensory stimulation that is not experienced through an online experience. The idea of going to a library, browsing through the card catalog, and perusing the aisles of a library cannot be replaced by looking at a computer screen. While online books, such as those available on Kindle, have become more popular, many still prefer to learn by reading or studying from an actual book.
2. The negative association of technology.
While much progress has been made, many still consider technology to be very different from actual education. It is surprising that the educational system has taken a long time to embrace how technology can help in the classroom. However, many educators know that students associate technology with "fun" rather than "learning." Young people use technology for video games, videos, music, and more. Making that distinction can sometimes be a challenge for both teachers and students.
3. Lack of personal communication with educators and peers.
One negative aspect of the Internet and technology in the classroom is the lack of human interaction. Rather than being taught in a physical classroom with a teacher and students, online classes separate the student from the actual experience of interacting with others. The ability to ask questions and interact with others is sometimes removed when one learns through technology.
4. Lack of new information.
One problem with technology and working online in the classroom is that the same information is often repeated over and over again. While Google continues to update its algorithms to prevent this from happening, an online search will quickly show the same information repeated again and again over various websites. Students need to learn to be creative with fresh ideas and not just rewrite what they read online.
5. Educators can become babysitters.
In many classrooms, educators have begun to take advantage of technology as they teach their students. However, there is a fine balance between teaching students and entertaining them. While all students need a break from books and lecturing, teachers need to careful not to allow technology to replace the teaching experience. Because students are so easily attracted to technology, they usually prefer that to the more traditional ways of teaching.
As you can see, teachers need to make sure they have a good balance between technology and the actual teaching/learning experience. Technology is everywhere and a good teacher will take the time to learn how it can best be implemented into the learning experience. One must consider what works best in the classroom, following that which is most effective in helping students learn.