Technology could be useful or could have disadvantages, however, when used in moderation or for a cause or goal, it never fails to give great results. I began thinking about the use of technology in a classroom. I have noticed that the use of technology in classrooms has increased in the last few years. During my elementary school days, such use was limited to a few activities and most of the work was done on paper, utilizing good old binders and notebooks. Nowadays, students can save files to Google Drive with the touch of a button, or a teacher is able to provide feedback instantly though Apps and collaboration tools. In fact, many students were able to continue learning during the pandemic only because of technologies like Zoom that allowed not only audio and video but also the ability to share and write. Technology has allowed for more efficient and productive work and has made running the classroom easier for teachers. Technology as a leverage isn’t just limited to elementary school; middle and high schools now use it to write papers, submit and monitor homework, and many even take their tests. In a regular school year, technology has become akin to the classroom, and the age of paper and pencil that once dawned bright has become near obsolete for many. So, what are the advantages of using technology in school education? I have listed a few reasons that I believe may help a class and enable the students to learn better.
Classroom Engagement: It’s easy to imagine a scenario where technology could become a distraction to students, who might utilize it to watch the latest basketball highlights or new music video. However, educational research shows that it can foster active class-participation by turning “traditionally dull subjects into interactive and fun activities” (Walden University, 2021). For example, a math lesson on long division can be made more fun through an online quiz that assigns points based on right answers, done through applications like Kahoot and Quizlet. Teachers will be able to utilize this to “spark inquisitiveness in children and boost their curiosity, which research says has ties to academic success. Curiosity helps students get a better understanding of math and reading concepts” (American University School of Education, 2020). Additionally, such an approach will keep the students engaged as it provides an interactive environment vs. lecture based.
Collaboration: Group projects are notorious among school-aged children. Often, it requires students to meet in-person and collaborate and that places a burden and even restrictions on the group and individuals as they need to meet certain demands like showing up at someone else’s house or staying late after school. The online technologies provide ways to tackle such challenges as it presents many other unique opportunities for collaboration. In fact, I worked online on many of my group projects last year (during COVID-19) and completed it successfully. Studies indicate that “teachers have observed an increased frequency of students helping each other when they’re using technology in the classroom” (Walden University), as it creates a situation in which “not only can teachers engage with students during lessons, but students can also communicate with each other” (American University School of Education).
Builds Future Skills: Students are exposed to several new ways of working and new technologies, and this would provide them with skills to acquire jobs. It is reported that 80% of the jobs in San Diego have software requirements and hence learning to use technology could only help the students. According to a study by CompTIA, “nine out of 10 students indicated that using technology in the classroom would help prepare them for the digital future” (Walden University). It’s not clear what lies in store for the future, but it is probable that it will involve some level of technology use. Thus, becoming familiar with technology at an earlier age will set students up for success when they pursue the next stages of their lives, whether that’s college, a job, or something else. Studies indicate that “simply having a mindset that embraces the process of learning and using new technology can make a difference in a student’s future” (Grand Canyon University, 2020), and creating that mindset earlier will create more success in the future. Presenting technology to students at a young age helps prepare students for future digital demands.
While there are many benefits to the use of technology in a classroom, it is unfortunately less accessible for all. To meet the technological need that students have today schools will need significantly more funding, which is sometimes well over the allotted budget they receive. As a result, we would see an education gap especially in areas with low-income families. However, local governments and many other groups have begun to combat this, by either providing technology to schools or raising the money to get laptops and iPads into the classroom.