Technology is amazing. Without it, I would not be able to write this and share it with such a wide audience. It is such a pervasive influence in modern society. Thus, it only makes sense that it has made its way into education.
The use of technology in classrooms is incredibly important because of the amount used outside of the classroom. However, it can be increasingly detrimental to students and teachers when not used in moderation.
Hurting How We Learn
The biggest thing I’ve noticed in my experience (I’m a preschool teacher) is that kids who use technology all the time tend to be more anxious. Research backs this up. According to Ellen Hendriksen, Ph.D., in Psychology Today:
In some ways, technology takes away uncertainty. Smartphones allow us to control our world and our consumption like never before… You’d think that taking away uncertainty would make us less anxious. But instead, because technology has lessened our experience handling uncertainty, we’re less prepared to deal with ambiguity when it arises.
Anxiety is on the rise among students, specifically from ages 6 to 18. There are a lot of potential factors for this increase, including school, parents, and unmet health concerns.
One reason for this increased anxiety could be that students are having an increasingly difficult time understanding what they read. As I wrote in a previous article, students are having a difficult time connecting their assignments to real world applications. They can read the words, but can’t comprehend what the texts are really trying to say.
Technology has had an impact on this literacy crisis because of the reliance on computers. Students have so much access to information that they become lazy. They are also more likely to develop poor study habits because of this over-reliance.
Technology also allows students to skip crucial steps in building personal and academic skills. For example, it is much easier for students to be “protected” and miss out on crucial social development, even while still experiencing bullying through online platforms. It is also easier than ever to cheat on assignments through the availability of information and by having instant access to peers.
Selling A Fad
Many teachers do not even realize the problems that technology has been creating, and tech gurus know this. It becomes easy for people to push for more expansive use of technology without thinking critically.
For example, this article by Danny Mareco written for the SecuEdge Blog states 10 reasons why technology is NEEDed in the classroom. I am sure he is wonderfully proficient in his tech job. But based on his bio, he is not a teacher, and has no real childcare experience. Some of his reasons may be valid, but I have no idea where his reasons come from.
In addition, he seems to have conveniently left out any negative research. This tells me that he is just trying to sell his WiFi service to schools.
The use of technology in the classroom is important because of the need for it outside of education. But, the bigger implications and negative consequences that come from its use cannot be ignored. There needs to be a happy medium between the use of technology as a teacher and reliance on traditional learning.