Technology in Schools Faces Questions on Value — In Classroom of Future, Stagnant Scores

This article from the New York Times reports on the incorporation of digital media in schools. The article poses both the pros and cons to integrating digital media in the classroom. I, too, tend to sway back and forth on my opinion of technology based on this article. Classrooms are starting to fill up with Smart Boards, laptops, projectors, networking gear, ipads, and other technology for teachers, administrators, and students alike. The debate here is how much of technology is useful and how much of it hinders a student’s learning.

As we all know, digital media is the latest fad among students of all ages. And as teachers, we need to accommodate to the changing world for the best interest of our students. But innovation comes at what cost? As this New York Times article reports, the use of technology in the classroom may be on the rise, but test scores are going down. Is it more important that today’s students attain high test scores? Or that they master the technology of the future?  In the article, an eighth grade teacher states that writing is a task that has become “increasingly difficult” for her students. Could this be partly the fault of technology? On one hand, the connection between putting the physical hand to paper can be an “intimate” experience; however computers are essential in helping students record their ideas and edit them quickly.

The use of technology in the classroom has earned widespread praise, calling school districts innovative. But the pressure to integrate technology is increasing, and most districts do not have sufficient funding. Is it too much to ask for teachers to not only prepare lesson plans, instruct classes, grade student’s work, but to also keep up on modern technology? Some digital advances would require teachers to enroll in an explanatory course. A real world example of this is RamCT’s new Blackboard program; there is an optional class for professors to take in order to master the new system.

Some school districts are using money to fund technology instead of teachers. Students may have more access to computers, but as a result they are getting a fewer number of teachers.

“The digital push aims to go far beyond gadgets to transform the very nature of the classroom, turning the teacher into a guide instead of a lecturer, wandering among students who learn at their own pace on Internet connected devices”

While the use of digital media can be beneficial to a student’s learning it is critical to be taught by a teacher. Without an instructor, classes are just full of cool gadgets and students ready to play. Parents, too, feel conflicted: “it’s hard to say ‘yes, spend more on technology’ when class sizes increase”.

As future teachers I want to know what all of your differing opinions are. After all, this is our future too!

-Emma Steward

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About Emma Steward

Coloradoan, yogi, future educator, vegetarian, nature lover, fine wine connoisseur of fine wines (Five truths and lie, or is it two...)

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