For schools and universities, both have experienced many changes with the technology that is available. Instead of students having to go to the library to complete their work, most can now just walk into their classroom filled with new desktops and laptops. With the increase of technology in most schools, it is almost becoming a necessity for classrooms to have up to date technology for students. Students that have been able to work with laptops ever since elementary school get so used to the technology available that most find it just standard in classrooms today.
In the classroom it does not stop with the computers, now teachers are having smart boards made and put into classrooms. But do these smart boards really help the students learn better? I highly doubt that a smart board in the classroom is going to help a student want to pay attention to another boring lecture of some moment of time in our history. Frankly, that smart board is all but making the teacher’s job easier. Or is it? What if that teacher or professor is a little older than some of us?
Someone who is not used to having the high amounts of technology in today’s classrooms may not know how to work that smart board. All that does is waste time. The same can go for students who grew up in low income areas who are not used to working with computers. While others in the classroom are busy typing a paper, this student is probably sitting in the back wondering how to change his font. The fact is too much technology in the classroom can cause negatives for both the student and teacher in many ways. Imagine an English class walking in to their room filled with new laptops.
Everyone sits down and waits for the teacher. The teacher comes in and tells them to continue working on their paper. Unfortunately one student in there is using this word program for the first time. While his peers are busy writing their papers, he is still trying to figure out how to save his document. My first issue with technology in the classroom is that it takes away from valuable learning time. While this student could be starting his paper, he must be aided by his teacher multiple times during class for his technical issues.
Not everyone in a classroom may have had the opportunity that most students have had of growing up with computers in the classroom. Everyone comes in at a different skill level which makes it hard for students to actually learn something on a lesson based on using the computer. The same can be for the teacher. Not all teachers are used to the new technology in classrooms today. When it comes time for a lesson to be taught through using a computer and the teacher doesn’t even know how to load the document needed, it just becomes wasted time for the students.
A teacher who posted his experience about new technology on A Novel Idea writes “I looked down at my iPad and it had gone dark. So I slid my finger across the face of the tablet to wake up the screen, then punched in my password, then flipped through the electronic pages until I found the place where I left off. This was not only distracting to the kids, but it also added frustration to the problem, making me anxious in front of a crowd” (A Novel Idea). This teacher shared his experience of new technology being brought into the class and how it took away from the valuable learning time that was available.
Instead of technology being a part of the curriculum in schools, it is now becoming the center of attention. My second reason for the negatives of technology in the classroom is the overuse of it. Many students learn best by physically and mentally interacting with what they are studying. If most teaching is done using a computer, these students’ needs are not being met. For example, a class could be playing a review game for math using PowerPoint. The teacher would have the problems on the board while the students race to answer it.
But what about some of the students who have really struggled this year in math, this review is pointless for them because they cannot even figure out how to solve the problem. Also, while the teacher is busy changing the problems it is hard for the student who is struggling to ask for help because that takes away from the lesson plan for that class. The issue with overuse is that overtime it will just become boring for students who are excelling in that particular class, and seem like a pointless strategy for students who are struggling.
Charlene Kamper states in her article of the overuse of technology that “With information and answers just a click away, today’s teens are falling short when it comes to deductive reasoning and problem-solving on their own” (Kamper). The availability of technology causes students to not be able to learn information on their own but be able to type something into Google and find the answer. In a class where the lesson for today is researching topics for the next research paper, some students will take advantage of that time in class.
However, some students will use this time to get and twitter and tweet about how English class is lame (in 160 characters or less of course). Distraction in a technology filled classroom is a huge issue. In some classes where the teacher gives the students the freedom to get on the computers and research, some will misuse it and just go web surfing. This issue does not just apply to the middle and high school levels, even in elementary. In Matt Richtel’s article about technology in the class room, he writes about a young student playing a math game.
He writes “Xavier Diaz, 6, sits quietly, chair pulled close to his dell laptop playing Alien Addition…Xavier’s goal is to shoot only the spaceship with the correct answer but he is just shooting every target in sight” (Richtel). While this math game is supposed to be helping Xavier improve his math skills, he just sees it as another video game he would play at home. It’s hard to stop the distractions with technology available in most classes. Imagine walking into history class. It’s just another average day. You sit down, say hey to some of your friends and possibly send out a tweet.
Then your teacher pulls up a PowerPoint. You automatically know that your teacher is going to be reading off the PowerPoint for the whole class and it’s just going to be another period of taking long notes. My final issue with technology in the class room is the misuse of it. “PowerPoint works best for things that are presented visually, not verbally. It helps when you need to draw a picture” (Kaminski). Too many teachers today use PowerPoint as a verbal aid for lectures. The use of PowerPoint is best used as a visual aid in the classroom setting.
For years students have had to deal with the long PowerPoints with the endless notes. How do these long PowerPoints help students? The only thing that it does is that it will help cause arthritis in your wrist before age fifty. Also, these long PowerPoint’s just make students not wanting to pay attention. These students are unable to play an active role in their education. Then when a teacher complains and how the students are unresponsive and unwilling to participate, that teacher needs to look in the mirror along with their teaching strategies.
Jeffrey Young states in his article When Good Technology Means Bad Teaching “Colleges have spent millions on “smart classrooms” packed with the latest gadgets to assist teaching…But colleges have spent far less time and money giving professors the skills to use even the simplest technology effectively” (Young). Colleges and schools can spend as much money as they want for state of the art classes, but if you don’t have an instructor that knows how to use that technology available it just becomes a waste of money. Also, it becomes the students that suffer the most. In today’s world, technology is going to be improving all the time.
No matter what schools are going to be updating the technology available for students. Now, it is important for the libraries to be up to date with the computers available because that is a useful are for students to help complete work when they want too. But at some point, we must put up the stop sign with how much technology is integrated in the classroom. Sixty minutes without a computer screen in front of you is not going to kill us. But instead could help us. While we do need technology in our everyday lives, we do not need excessive amounts in our classrooms.