Technology in class: More harm than help?

Technology is growing more impressive and widespread every day. People have phones on their wrists, and laptops that are getting smaller and more portable everyday. But a major disagreement among teachers, students, and administrators arises when it comes to whether or not technology should be utilized in the classroom.

The more people you ask, the more you realize that there is no clear-cut answer. The term “disruptive technology” is used frequently in education because of the growing concern that technology is creating more problems than it is solving. Technology can certainly be a distraction, but is it the catalyst of the disruption?

“Access to the Web is helpful for some of our activities and I use my Smart Board daily,” said Dr. Pointer, US History. “However, I think students with laptops are often distracting to students behind them (if the student is watching a movie, playing games, etc., instead of taking notes).”

And when the computers are connected with phones, or the phones have even greater capabilities, the distraction grows.

“[Students] are more likely to answer emails, text their friends, surf the web, and check social media,” said Ms. Wooten, US English. “Even if students are not doing these things, the temptations are definitely there.”

Even though some teachers noted that they can feel disconnected from their students when those students are engaged on a laptop, others noted how using technology makes class more accurate and efficient when they are turning papers in, for example.

“Not only is the use of technology in the classroom reflective of the changing way people engage each other and get work done, but it also has great safeguards to detect cheating and plagiarism, as well as creative ways to demonstrate learning that you can’t really do with a plain old pencil and paper,” said Mrs. Hoad, US Religion. “To be clear, plain old pencil and paper is still a great tool, I’m just happy to also have technological options in my tool box.”

English and Speech teacher, Mrs. Crossley, utilizes technology in her classroom by frequently asking her students to look up information and quotes for essays or speeches. She still sees challenges, though.

“Research has shown that retention is lower with computer notes and that If I want them to listen, the laptops present a barrier between them and me,” Crossley said.

Despite its disruptions, technology provides opportunities for investigating and understanding diverse and challenging ideas. The continued challenge is walking the delicate line between a traditional and progressive classroom, or rather, finding the right balance of the two.

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