This week in #EDTC400 we began our coverage of “The Great EdTech Debate.” Myself, along with classmates have been looking forward to these debates all semester and let me tell you, the first day did not disappoint.
We began with a debate surrounding the statement “Technology in The Classroom Enhances Learning.” This was actually the topic I was studying for these debates. I advocated for the ‘pro’ side, agreeing with the fact that technology enhances learning. I learned a lot from this and formed a very well-informed opinion on the topic in the process.
I will begin by stating some of the benefits to using technology in classrooms today. There is no question that technology is seemingly inevitable these days. There are constantly new technologies being made and integrated into the everyday lives of people, including those in the classroom. Many of the points of focus came from Webanywhere’s Top 6 Benefits of Using Technology in The Classroom. I will begin with the idea of technology improving engagement among students. I like this point because it acknowledges the fact that “[t]echnology provides different opportunities to make learning more fun and enjoyable in terms of teaching same things in new ways” (WebAnywhere, 2021). Technology provides many adaptations for learners of all types. Headphones provide a great audio resource for those who prefer audio learning, smartboards and other gadgets provide learning for those visual-oriented learners, and online programs such as games or trivia websites provide some interactive-type resources for those who like a more hands-on experience. Technology also provides ways for students to work individually, as well as work with one another. The simple fact is, “[n]o one learns in the same way because of different learning styles and different abilities” (WebAnywhere, 2021), which prompts me to again remind readers of the many adaptations students can have to better fit their learning. In turn, students will be more engaged in what it is they are learning as they feel as if the lessons are more catered to their needs, yielding better results. There is a seemingly infinite amount of benefits associated with technology in the classroom. However, like any great thing, there are some consequences involved.
On the other side of the argument, we must highlight some of the potential disadvantages to technology in the classroom. Overstimulation of technology is something of concern nowadays. This is because students are around technology so much in their home lives. This can be problematic, as “students are more interested in the technology, and not focused on the learning” (Kulesza, Dehondt, & Nezlek, 2011). If technology is not used in an effective way, the idea here is that it turns into more of a distraction than a tool. To sum it up, “technology must be properly managed and moderated in order to mitigate the negative aspects and bolster the positive ones” (Kulesza, Dehondt, & Nezlek, 2011).
The debate for technology in the classrooms was quite an interesting one. As mentioned, I was arguing for the side agreeing that technology enhances learning. This tended to be the opinion for most of the class, as 86% of them agreed with the fact technology enhances learning. This is not to say that there were not some valid arguments for the other side.
At the start of the debate I found I was being questioned a lot about my points made in the opening statement(which I will also link below). Much of this may have had to do with the fact I had the vast majority of the class on my side. Over the course of the debate I found a couple of my key points seemed to be prominent in the argument. In terms of technology being a distraction, I argued the fact that technology was not the problem, it was the way it is being used. I continue to stand by this point because I truly believe it to be correct. Technology would not pose as a distraction or an overstimulation if it was being used properly and safely. What I mean by this is we as educators can restrict certain sites or apps that we feel are not beneficial to our students. My high school had restricted the use of snapchat as they found it was a distraction as an example. In addition, if we limit the access our students have to their devices without being completely invasive, we can thereby eliminate any chance it would be a distraction, or use it as a tool for learning if we choose to do so. Overall, I just want to acknowledge the fact that we need to be educated, and our students need to be educated, with the use of technology. If we as educators can use it effectively, we will only reap the benefits technology provides. Similarly, if our students know proper online safety and fact-checking they will be much more knowledgeable tech users.
The debate about Technology Enhances Learning was well argues on both sides. Just like anything in life, the main thing I learned from this is that we need balance. I am still an advocate for the ‘pro’ side of using technology to enhance learning, however I do agree that it should not be the teacher of the class. We are still the teacher, we just use technology as a tool to provide a better educational experience for our students. We can address the needs of all types of learners, including those with special needs. If we can learn to use it effectively and teach our students the same, we will, without a doubt, enhance the quality of education we provide for our students. I would like to thank the entire #EDTC400 class for the excellent discussion, and I am very much looking forward to the coming debates.
Hicks, S. D. (2011). Technology in Today’s Classroom: Are you a Tech-Savvy Teacher? The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 188-191.
Kulesza, J., Dehondt, G., & Nezlek, G. (2011). More Technology, Less Learning? Information Systems Education Journal, 4-13.
ONTARIO, E. C. (2021). Five Reasons You Shouldn’t Use Technology in The Classroom. Retrieved from ecoo.org: https://ecoo.org/blog/2018/03/27/five-reasons-you-shouldnt-use-technology-in-the-classroom/
WebAnywhere. (2021). Top 6 Benefits of Using Technology in the Classroom. SchoolJotter.