Computers and tablets can be used for practically anything in the classroom. There is no doubt that this technology has greatly assisted in the learning experience. However, is it possible that it is going too far?
Are children becoming too reliant on electronics in the classroom? Using computers and other electronic devices in the classroom is something that is becoming more and more popular as the days pass. Now that electronics are becoming more affordable, many schools are starting to take advantage of their many functions for everyday use.
In the early 2000’s, computers were only used when the entire class was able to use them. Schools didn’t have tablets and homework was assigned and worked on in a physical book. Now, less than two decades later, many schools are only using tablets for their work.
Textbooks, lessons, assignments, communication, and anything else needed by the student is all on one little device. Whether this is a good or a bad thing depends on the generation you ask.
Children love all of the technology because they are used to it. Many teachers like it because it makes their jobs significantly easier. Parents have mixed feeling about it because some of them don’t understand it so it is hard for them to relate to their children.
Many of the activities and learning methods that were traditionally done without electronics can be done with electronics as well. In addition, the use of podcasts and songs, which are very useful in learning, rely upon electronic devices. Students can also read books, listen to audio, write stories, complete homework assignments, communicate with each other, watch tutorial videos, conduct research, and more all on one handy electronic device.
In the past, if you had ten textbooks you had ten textbooks. Now, if you have ten or 100 it doesn’t matter because they are all on the same sized device. Your backpack doesn’t increase in weight like it used to. In addition, you can have all of your assignments right there. No more dog eating your homework!
Need to look up a word or use a calculator? Boom! Google has it in a matter of seconds. Did you forget how to do a certain algebra step or need to find out how to do something? YouTube saves the day with a tutorial video on anything you need. Do you need to ask a fellow student or teacher a question? No problem, simply hop on your handy device and send them a message in the chat room. They’ll get back to you and you didn’t have to worry about whether or not you had their phone number. However, if you needed to look up their phone number you can search the Internet for that as well. All on your tablet.
There are also so many educational and entertaining games that can be played on these devices. You name it, there’s an app for that. Students can stay sharp using these apps for tests and quizzes. They can have as many flash cards as they want without worrying about losing a single card.
These games and programs can be a great break for students throughout the day. When they are playing a game their mind is in the “fun” mode rather than the “school” mode even though they are still learning. Therefore, these apps are wonderful resources to keep the mind engaged while still appearing to be taking a break from learning.
There is no question that the use of technology has significantly improved our lives. It has definitely made things a lot easier. Any book you want can be stored on your device. You can have an entire library in the palm of your hand. Not to mention contact information for anyone you want. No more phone books, heavy textbooks, dictionaries, thesauruses, encyclopedias, long days researching at the library, et cetera. You can do it all in a fraction of the time with one little device. Amazing. However, is it too good to be true?
Yes, technology can do some amazing things. We are more connected now than ever. Yet, why is it, then, that people are more alone than ever before? People are not out with friends playing in the park. Instead, they are at home playing online multiplayer games to hang out. No more skinned knees or dirty jeans. Now it is their minds becoming dirty at an earlier age.
Of course, this can be changed with proper parenting and limits on technology. This is a disadvantage that happens out of the classroom that falls on the parents. Thus, are there any disadvantages to using electronics in the classroom?
Ask an elementary school student, one who uses a tablet for their schoolwork how to look up a word in the dictionary. Ask them how to look up something in a phone book. Chance are, he or she will not know how. Is this a problem? Maybe. However, consider that they will most likely always have the Internet.
It isn’t like years ago when it wasn’t available all over. Nowadays, you can find wifi or data connection in the pocket of the majority of the population. At least in first world countries. Therefore, as long as they have Google, they will never need to know how to use an encyclopedia, a dictionary, an almanac, a thesaurus, or a phone book because they can look it up online. Of course, if a disaster happens then they will be out of luck.
What about handwriting? Penmanship was so stressed years ago and it was important to be a neat writer. However, doctors never wrote neatly. Now, kids can barely write because they type everything on a screen. Spelling and grammar also suffer due to spell check and shortened text abbreviations.
People are forgetting how to write and are becoming dependent upon technology to write for them. They are using the computer’s brain so they don’t have to fully use their own. Sure, they still have to think about what to write but spelling, grammar, and handwriting are no longer a thought process.
Memory is another thing that can be effected by all of this technology. People used to have to remember things that they wanted to remember. If they didn’t remember them the only way to find the information again was to look it up in some form of reference book. If they didn’t have a collection of books at home that meant making a trip down to the local library or calling up a friend.
Now, all it takes is a few seconds and a search on Google. People no longer need to remember facts and pieces of information. Things are not committed to memory anymore because we can simply take a picture and look at it later. The electronic device is being used as an extension of our brains. Basic math, counting change, simple facts, et cetera are becoming lost on this electronic generation.
As you can see, the use of technology has the power to drastically simplify our lives. In addition, it can make learning a lot better and easier. However, there are some major concerns that go along with this convenience. Whether or not the benefits outweigh the cost will depend on the generation you ask.
However, I personally believe that technology is an amazing asset that we should take full advantage of. However, I also believe that it is very important to realize that it may be making us lazy and dependent. Therefore, we must be aware of that and stay sharp. That means knowing how to do things without technology as well.