Is technology in the classroom helpful or harmful?

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

 

Kids today are drawn to technology. They have grown up with it and for some children it has been a part of their daily lives since they were infants. Kids have access to all of the information they need with just a few clicks. They have phones, iPads, Kindles, and other devices that they carry around with them everywhere. 

For educators, having access to this same information is very important and even critical for success when teaching lessons every day in the classroom. Many teachers have started incorporating the use of technology in their lessons, especially when it comes to personalized learning. For example, if there is a student that is struggling with a specific concept in math, there might be a calculation game on the iPad that could help them understand faster. Or, there may be interactive games that allow students to have a hands-on experience in learning. Technology can often engage students in a way that direct teacher-to-student lessons cannot.  In addition, educators can use technology to better track the progress of learning in each student.  This makes grading and student assessment easier at the end of each term and gives teachers, as well as parents or students, specific information on what concepts need to be learned. 

But, using technology as a learning tool can also have some negative impacts.  For example, for a student who is already struggling with too much exposure to technology, using it in the classroom may not be beneficial. When overused, technology can be isolating, so teachers have to be focused on using it as part of the big picture of overall learning goals. In addition, some students will find the use of technology distracting. Games on devices or websites can compete for their attention, when in fact, they should be looking to research and learn the subject at hand. For these students, teachers will have to monitor technology use more than they might for others, simply because it can cause a situation where the student becomes distracted to the point of not learning at all. 

 

Technology is changing the overall experience of education, as well as the role that parents, students, and educators play in learning. The classroom environment is ever-changing and adapting technology in the classroom can be very valuable for children when used in the right way, but when used incorrectly, can cause damage.