7 Myths about the Harm of Using Technology in the Classroom
The Myths Are Preventing Us to See Technology as an Advantage
Studies show that children aged 5 to 16 spent a daily average of 6.5 hours in front of a screen. That average is higher among teenage boys – 8 hours. Younger children, aged from 5 to 10, did better – they spent an average of 4.5 hours a day in front of a screen. The times have changed. In 1995, children aged 5 to 16 spent an average of 3 hours a day in front of the TV.
Now, they have different screens to look at. For many parents and teachers, that’s a good thing. For others, it’s a devastating fact. Many teachers have a problem introducing technology in the classroom. They understand that the educational system is an evolving category, but they are hesitant about the changes.
Let’s see how a modern classroom looks like. Each student has an iPad. The teacher is giving a presentation, which also involves the use of technology. The students are using their iPads to take notes, tweet questions, and look up for online resources that enhance the knowledge they get through the lecture. That’s the description of an ideal situation. The worst situation, which can also occur, is different. The students are staring at their screens all the time, browsing through irrelevant websites and not paying attention to what the teacher says.
That worst situation is scary, but it’s also real. The schools in LA implemented the revolutionary program an iPad for every student in 2013, and they were being praised for that huge step. The program, however, turned out to be a complete disappointment and it was canceled in December 2014.
That’s one of the failures that made teachers hesitant to turn to technology, although they are aware of all the benefits it has. The perception that technology leads to a disorganized classroom is the foundation of many myths related to the new trends in education.
The challenge of incorporating technology into the classroom demands committed and trained teachers, as well as a revised curriculum. In such surrounding, the following disadvantages are pure myths.
1. Technology is ruining spelling and grammar
Yes, the constant use of the autocorrect feature is not beneficial regarding the student’s spelling skills. The first spell-checkers were developed in the 1970s, so we can’t really blame the decline in spelling skills on tablets. In 2009, Andrea Lunsford from Stanford University studied the papers of almost 15,000 undergraduates and came to an unexpected conclusion: we’re in the middle of a literary revolution… in a good way!
2. Technology distracts students from the lesson
If we’re looking at an organized classroom with a teacher who has things under control, distraction is a pure myth. The tablets can be controlled and the students won’t access distracting websites during classes. In fact, they help the students note down or record important parts of the lecture, so the completion of homework gets easier.
Moreover, the teacher can provide videos, illustrations, presentations, and other visual materials that make complex concepts much easier to understand.
3. Technology takes away learning time
Teachers have always been pressed to make every minute count, so they are afraid that technology wastes the students’ time. The truth is – technical troubles are not likely to occur when the schools provide high-quality devices and the teachers introduce apps that are on-level with the students’ age and capacity.
4. Students are mostly using technology for social media and irrelevant YouTube videos
No, they aren’t. Here is what a parent says about the way their kids use technology: “My kids love watching their sport, acrobatic gymnastics, on YouTube since it’s not really covered elsewhere. My middle son created and designed a website for himself when he was seven. He still uses it to communicate with extended family and as an outlet for his fiction and non-fiction writing.”
Yes, students can get distracted by cartoons and Justin Bieber. However, if we teach them to discover their true interests, technology will provide the support and resources they need.
5. With technology in the classroom, there’s a lack of real interaction
On the contrary; practices of school-wide messaging and apps that connect the teachers with the students and their parents show that students are more engaged in communication than ever.
A study from 2005 proved what we already anticipated: people with social anxiety are not comfortable with face-to-face interactions; they prefer sharing opinions via social media. The face-to-face interaction still exists in the modern classroom. However, shy and socially anxious students are given a chance to ask questions and share opinions through private Facebook groups and other tools that connect the classroom.
6. More technology = more cheating
That can happen if the teacher gives up hope on teaching their students how to use the Internet responsibly. If they give objective assignments that require presenting knowledge obtained from research along with a personal perspective, the technology will be used in a good way.
Tools like Copyscape help the teacher identify signs of plagiarism. That’s an advantage since the students will learn how to reference and quote online resources according to academic standards. Plagiarism was much harder to detect when students and teachers weren’t using online resources.
7. We are discriminating students who don’t have access to modern technology resources
If the teacher is asking each student to bring their own device or gives homework assignments that require technology, then yes, they are discriminating. If, however, they make sure everyone has access to the Internet connection, they can still assign homework that requires online resource. If the school provides few devices for the students to share, there’s no discrimination. In fact, even the students who don’t have access to advanced technology in their homes are getting the experience that many others enjoy.
Technology can harm the studying process if teachers and parents allow it to become a distraction. However, the thought that technology is inevitably harming the learning processes no matter how it’s being implemented is a pure myth, which was broken.