Technology in Education: Improving Lives or Inhibiting Growth?
Technology in education has been a highly-debated topic. As schools add technology into their curriculum, there are those that praise the adjustment and those that believe it is not conducive to the learning environment. Time and time again, we’ve been told that too much technology is bad for a child’s development and social growth. If it’s really that bad, though, why are schools implementing more and more technology into the school day? Are our children better off without screens in the classroom?
Our world–and with it, our technology– is constantly changing, and education has a difficult time adjusting to these changes as quickly as other industries can. For example, tablets really made an impact in 2010 with the release of the first iPad. With per unit cost being about $630 when first released, an iPad was a large chunk of change, but the cost could be manageable for a graduation present or milestone birthday gift. Now imagine having to buy at least 30 of those so that one classroom at a time could use this technology. That’s almost $19,000 right there. What if this school didn’t have wireless Internet access, moveable storage units to house the tablets when not in use, insurance for each device in case of breakage, etc.? Now take into consideration other technology needs that need to be met, building upkeep costs, staff salaries, student activities costs, and other costs that every learning institution must take care of. On top of this, remember that any funds going to the school come from the taxpayers. Will they see the value in this? Unless their child is in the school at that point in time, the answer may very likely be no. As you can see, the high cost of technology can become an issue for schools. Those who don’t believe that technology in education is beneficial may have no problem with outdated technology in schools, but the truth of the matter is that it could be setting our children up for issues down the road.
There are so many positive ways to use technology in the classroom. Technology can be used to bring the educational materials to life. No child is going to enjoy every subject; that’s just a fact of life. There are so many amazing tools out there that can be used to make this information more interesting to students. By being able to make the material more appealing, they have a higher likeliness of information retention, and ultimately, success.
Technology also gives multiple ways for students to learn. From first grade onwards, I learned that there are multiple learning styles, and it is important to learn and study information according to what learning style best fits you. If that’s really true, why are students still forced to sit in a classroom and read from a book or listen to a lecture day in and day out? Technology gives educators the opportunity to switch up the daily routine to make learning work for all students regardless of their learning style. A simple Google search can provide results for educators on how they can use technology to meet their students’ learning needs. Interactivity online is more prevalent than ever, with everything from 3D tours of historical sites like Pompeii and Mount St. Helen’s to online study tools that turn your study guides into games, flashcards, puzzles, and more. These online resources can be taught in just a few minutes during class time and used at home during study time.
Technology can also be extremely beneficial for school workers as a team. We take for granted technology services such as cohesive emails, clouds and servers for storage and file sharing, online grading portals, parent-teacher communication platforms, student-teacher communication platforms, and so much more. This technology in the classroom, though not always being used to directly educate students, allows for communication to easily and conveniently flow amongst coworkers, parents, and students.
Throughout September, we’ll be showing you how technology in education is beneficial to all involved. We’ll see what students are doing with electronics, how this impacts their learning, and how schools are helping students reach their full potential with technology.