why technology should not be used in the classroom
For more than a decade, many policymakers, tech gurus and private companies have been proclaimingбthat digital technology holds the golden key to unlocking students motivation and engagement. It s like a deafening drumbeat: Every child should have a laptop. Every child should have an iPad. Textbooks are finished. Online education is the future. And teachers? Well, they would be a nice extra. Failure to comply, we re often warned, would weaken our schools and cripple the nation s ability to compete in the 21st century. As a result, huge amounts of cashбhave been spent in an effort to deliver countless digital tools to classrooms across the country. Far from abating, the level of enthusiasm seems to increase with every new technological advancement. But maybe itБs time to step back and actually assess the actual evidence about the limits and successes- of technology in the classroom. What really has been delivered in the way of improved student learning? It has been an era of unfulfilled promises, says Noel Enyedy, associate professor of education and information studies at UCLA. Computers in the classroom are commonplace but teaching practices often look similar, as do student outcomes, Enyedy writes in
published by theб housed at the University of Colorado. Enyedy is no technophobe. Far from it, but he urges caution in rushing to adopt new tools. Clearly, as we move forward, technology will be in the classroom in one form or another. It is unrealistic and irresponsible not to figure out how to use technology well. Enyedy believes the promise of personalized instruction has fallen short, however. Techб advocates usually tout personalized instruction as the foundation of computer-based learning.
Personalized instruction, Enyedi explains, emphasizes tailoring the pace, order, location, and content of a lesson for the individual student. This is not to be confused with Бpersonalized learning,Б which is more about adaptingб learning environments in a variety of ways to engage and motivate as many students as possible. Still, many people do confuse the two, and the evidence that personalized instruction produces improved student outcomes is at best minimal or even non-existent. In surveying the available research, Enyedy argues that the results do not б justify the enormity of the investment or the effort toб upend traditionalб classroom environments. One personalized instruction system that showed some degree of success is blended learning, which fuses face-to-face instruction with some facet of online learning ( ). But Enyedy cautions that the research into blended learning is somewhat incomplete because it tends not to control for changes in teacher pedagogy, making it difficult to determine what specific factors led toб the improvement. Despite its potential, blended learning models are also expensive, incurring new costs in the form of infrastructure, licenses, professional development, and maintenance. Still, at least the approach shows some promise. Other models, are held up as being more cost efficient than brick-and-mortar schools, another dubious claim not supported by the facts. Enyedy believes that technology in the classroom has a valuable role to play in American education, but its potential has, to a large extent, been squandered by empty promises, ill-defined goals and outdated strategies.
Personalized instruction tailored mostly to the use of desktop computers б cannot transform learning when technology has moved on. We need a new vision for educational technology, he writes. We need technologies that are based on what we know about the process of learning an take advantage of the mobile, network technologies of today. Б -Continue to invest in technology but take a more incremental approach. Policymakers should also be more skeptical about some of the more hyperbolic claims put forward by tech companies. -Create more partnerships between developers and educators to truly discover what works and what doesnБt in the classroom. БWe cannot trust market forces alone to sort out which systems are effective,Б Enyedy writes. -School administrators must ensure that rigorous professional development accompany new investments in technology to build Бskills that have not historically been in the teacher toolbox. Б In every classroom setting, it is necessary that students are placed into an environment that is not only comfortable for them, but offers a place where they can easily learn. P As technology continues to be integrated within education, it is important that the different types of devices used in the classrooms are appropriate in ways that they promote a high quality of education and maintain respect transferred from students to teachers. It is necessary that there are limits set to the types of technology that can be used in schools, and furthermore, only computers should be allowed during class time due to their countervailing advantages over other smaller devices, like smartphones.
For some, the size of the computer produces an inconvenience for transportation between places, but alternatively, the larger size of its screen and keyboard allows for easier access and generates better attention spans during class. By having a larger screen, students are not focused on trying to read the words that are presented on the small faces of smartphones, and are therefore more engaged with the lesson presented by the teacher. There is also a health benefit to using a sizable screen, since there is a decrease in strain placed on the eyes. Moreover, with an actual keyboard attached to the device, students are able to type the notes or homework assignments in an efficient and quick manner. Not only does the size provide a better quality of education within the classroom, but it also allows for the adults in charge to be aware of what their students are doing at all times. It is definitely more complicated to hide the body of a computer, unlike that of a phone. Instead of resting on the desktop, phones are able to be hidden under the desk or covered by textbooks and other supplies used in class. With these portable devices, websites that the school wants to prohibit during school hours are indubitably blocked since computers rely on wireless connection to operate. On the other hand, smartphones are able to run off of their data and can ignore the limits placed upon Internet searches by turning off the schools Wi-Fi. Contrary to smartphones, apps and games are more difficult to access on computers. This is another factor that ensures a standard of respect is maintained by the students towards their authoritative figures.
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