Technology in the Classroom: The Great Debate

In this week’s class debate I agreed that technology enhances learning although I can identify with those who disagree. Below I have highlighted three points that stood out to me that were argued by each side, with research to support their claims:

Pros of Technology

Cons of Technology

1.       Helps engage students

2.       Provides opportunities to all kinds of learners (can include everyone)

3.       Allows for collaboration

 

1.       Used inappropriately and therefore is distracting

2.       Eliminates face to face interaction (lacking social skills)

3.       Equitable opportunities are limited due to access

 

In my ideal perfect world, technology would be incorporated into every classroom to help engage learners, there would be an unlimited supply of devices readily available to students and all devices would be used properly. However, as technology continuously evolves, I believe society struggles to keep up and also to adjust to this new digital era we live in. We seem to have drawn a strong attachment to the techniques and teaching practices from the past. I really liked a point that my classmate Amy Snider made in last night’s discussion when she stated that “pencils and sharpeners were once new technology”. As educators in this digital era I think we must embrace the opportunities that technology present us with (pros), and problem solve in hopes of eliminating the less than ideal barriers that the use of technology pose (cons).

Reflecting on my role as a Learning Resource Teacher in a high school, I am a huge advocate for technology in the classroom as I see first-hand how it impacts and has changed the lives of many of my students with learning needs. Many of my students are provided with assistive technology devices from the school board and programs such as Google Read & Write, Audible, Kurzweil and Proloquo2go help students in a variety of ways (communication, writing, reading, etc). If we were to eliminate these tools from the classroom then we could start a whole new debate regarding equitable opportunities 🙂

I really like what my school has done in response to teacher’s concerns of inappropriate use of cell phones in the classroom. The photo posted below is a picture of the school cell phone policy and cell phone hotel that each classroom has. Teachers are able to use this to their discretion and some use it more than others and in varying ways. Rather than simply taking students phones away to eliminate distraction, my goal is to teach the students that there is a time and place that cell phone use is appropriate (as Katie mentioned last night in the debate). The school also integrated a course called Digital Citizenship into the grade 9 Practical and Applied Arts class. I feel this is beneficial but this is also something that we could be more proactive with in the early elementary school years.

Cell Phone HOtel

Overall, I am for the implementation and use of technology in the classroom to help engage learners today. I think that moving from teacher-centred instruction to student-centred learning needs to have more emphasis placed on it. By questioning, guiding and facilitating students in the learning process, students will draw on strengths and interests and will develop deeper understandings of content and material. I also believe that if we can create student centred learning opportunities, more time is freed up for teachers to connect with students and to build and strengthen relationships (which is also a leading topic in the world of education).

I have lots to learn when it comes to implementing technology into my classroom in a more efficient and effective manner but I am open to all ideas! As an educator, I believe it is my job to stay current with the upcoming trends and technological advancements. Let’s be honest, technology is not going anywhere.

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9 thoughts on “Technology in the Classroom: The Great Debate

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  1. I love your school’s cell phone policy. It’s great that it is up to the teacher. I think cell phones are very useful in the classroom sometimes. The fact that I could choose when they can use them is perfect for my classroom. I know some teachers who strongly believe students should always have their cell phones, so this would allow them to always show in use.

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  2. I love your school’s “Cell Phone Hotel” idea!! Although I had to take the side of “Disagree” with tech enhancing learning in the classroom, I totally agree that we live in a tech world and we need to find ways to use it that promotes more personalized learning and encourages students to be more engaged in learning. I love that “Digital Citizenship” has been added to Grade 9 and I wonder how long it will take for this to be added to ALL grade levels. How to be a good “Digital Citizen” would be a great way to start the year in any grade!!

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    1. I agree it would be a great start of the year course for any grade. I also feel as though it could be helpful to have a component of digital citizenship embedded across many curriculum’s in the 21st century. Not only are teens and children in this generation trying to navigate through life to become a responsible member of society but they are also tasked with becoming responsible citizens digitally as well.

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  3. I agree with you, that the use of technology can be such an asset for students who need the LRT support and it in fact can help them demonstrate their knowledge and abilities much better. I like the hanging folder idea that your school uses as well because then teachers can use their discretion and it provides a teachable moment about appropriate usage!

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  4. I have to completely agree with your presentation of both sides of the debate in your blog. The use of technology for students to access knowledge that they may not have had opportunity to learn before technological advancements is an essential addition to our education system. However, there needs to be purposeful and efficient implementation and expectations around technology use in order to optimize learning. In my musings, I am wondering about the increasing gaps between those who have access to technological supports and those who are advancing and adapting with the times.
    Further, and quite honestly, I am concerned that technology is advancing at rates that we cannot possibly keep up in our semi-archaic education system due to lack of teacher training and financial resources. This delay may end up creating young citizens who are not prepared for the world. We know we will do our best with what we have. Here’s hoping that students will be able to keep up.

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  5. Great post Jodie! I would love to chat more with you about your school’s cell phone policy & the digital citizenship course in PAA 9 at some point… sounds super cool!

    Do you feel the policy is creating more dialogue with students and teachers regarding what proper digital etiquette and citizenship looks like, and thus more opportunities for students to learn these skills? Or is it limiting in that if I wanted as a teacher, I could just keep the kids on red all the time, never really opening the door for opportunities? Just curious your thoughts!

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    1. Hi Katie,
      I think it varies from classroom to classroom but I have noticed that my grade 9’s this year have been way more responsive to appropriate usage of their devices during class time. I rarely put my classroom on “red” and only a few times this year have I found myself frustrated with devices in my classroom. I think the presence of the policy and the discussion that follows suit has definitely impacted our up and coming students (the seniors have been a bit more of a challenge). I cannot speak for all teachers as each teacher approaches the policy a bit differently but this is a brief overview of my experience with it!

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