Are Classrooms Becoming Too Dependent On Technology?
Many educators have asked the question, “Are today’s classrooms too dependent on technology?”
The underlying assumptions involve several complex political and economic challenges. Some of these inquiries include where the money comes from for classroom technology, to using different equipment–and if we even need more technology in schools.
One of the most common criticisms of modern education revolves around the idea that there is already too much nonhuman influence in classrooms, particularly in grade-schools.
It will take a comprehensive, well-planned approach to handle these unique challenges of the modern scientific age.
Current State of the Classroom
Some classroom technology has been around for decades. Items like projectors and television are not new, but teachers do continue to use them in fresh ways.
Projectors are an effective way to enhance a laptop screen’s content, allowing every student in a large room to see. Television broadcasts are used to deliver lessons in a wide range of subjects. Newer tech is also on the learning menu. Videoconferencing, once only used in business meetings, is now a routine way to enable interaction between multiple groups of learners.
Another everyday school tech of the modern era includes laptops, hand-held devices, tablets, electronic whiteboards, sophisticated word processing apps, 3-D printing, and virtual field trips.
Is it all just too much? The concept of a human teacher standing in front of a group of students and delivering a lecture on a specific topic is still typical in many schools.
What if we did things differently?
The students listen, take notes, and discuss the material afterward.
Is there a need for dozens of different permutations of technological devices? In spite of the apparent advantages of virtual trips and online encyclopedias, some educators believe that too much tech is harmful to students.
Watching an electronic screen for more than a few hours per day can be harmful to human eyes. It can be even more dangerous to the eyes of growing children. More and more adults are showing up with mid-life vision problems, and experts think one cause might be computers.
Potential Physical Problems for Children
For children, there’s an even more significant physical threat from too much technology: inactivity. According to Athletico Physical Therapy, sitting for hours at a time can lead to all sorts of physical problems. As classrooms become increasingly dependent on tech, students are at a higher risk for a wide range of ailments.
Decrease In Attention Span
In a classroom situation full of screens, keyboards, video conferences, several audio input sources and multiple visual ones, school-children are literally bombarded with stimuli day in and day out.
Even the simple task of reading a book can involve two to three electronic devices, peripherals, and keyboards. Some experts worry that modern classroom tech is working to decrease the attention span of students significantly.
Lack of a Human “Filter”
In a classroom situation full of screens, keyboards, video conferences, several audio input sources and multiple visual ones, school-children are bombarded with stimuli day in and day out.
The more wrong technology we have in a classroom, the less input there students get from individual teachers. Humans are needed in schools to act as intermediaries between electronic sources of data and human minds. As technology becomes an all-encompassing milieu in classrooms, the vital role of students with their teachers and their peer connections can become even more isolating.
Creates Disadvantages in Rural Communities
Standardization of educational norms, which includes a lot of in-class technology, is leaving rural and poor communities behind.
As it becomes necessary to equip modern schools with more devices, rural and cash-strapped districts are routinely left out of the advancement loop. This lack of exposure to technology is one of the critical problems that technology-based teaching faces.
Poor Socialization Skills
What happens to children whose primary social interaction is with machines? Social psychologists have pointed out that kids, who already spend much of their free time online are now “locked” into a world with minimal human interaction.
More of the wrong technology in classrooms can only serve to make this problem worse-especially when there is no normal life-balance.
More of the wrong technology in classrooms can only serve to make this problem worse.
What’s the Solution?
In just the past two decades, there have been multiple political solutions at the national level and dozens within each of the 50 states.
Until states make changes accordingly, and schools make the right choices for the appropriate tools–the technological landscape of America’s educational system will continue to be a patchwork of programs with varying success rates.
According to Instructure, we need to reevaluate how we measure success. By moving away from standardization, we can target a student’s weaknesses and strengths and can create a much more effective learning plan.
Technology is what allows this to be possible by collecting and evaluating data from each student. As with all topics related to education, there are unique challenges industry leaders will have to grapple with daily.
Why the need for funds? Teacher training is at the top of the list, followed closely by resources for individual students. Technology is not cheap, and if classrooms are to be outfitted appropriately, there must be a way to pay for the right equipment.
Although technology can be a powerful tool in the classroom, there are many critical areas that we need to address.
There is, however, a temptation on the part of many to see technology as a replacement for human-led instruction.
That attitude, along with a shortage of needed funds, is a crucial roadblock in the way of real progress.