Is Technology Bad in Class? | The Case For and Against Technology in the Classroom

by | Oct 16, 2023

Technology in class is a point of discussion for many teachers and parents across the world. As technology becomes more readily accessible, more and more classrooms begin implementing it in some form or another. I want to break down the case for and against technology in the classroom. Highlighting the benefits and shortcomings of a classroom that implements it.

The Good

Technology offers a number of benefits when implemented correctly into the classroom. It can enhance and elevate the student learning experience in a number of ways while still driving up engagement. Our private school: The Tenney School has had experience on both sides of the argument when implementing technology. So let’s start by discussing some of the benefits!

1. Increase in Accessibility

We have found in our experience that technology breaks down accessibility barriers in the classroom. Certain conditions like dysgraphia can create a barrier between the teacher and the student. With technology, it can resolve this issue and allow the lesson to continue as planned for the student. The student will gain more confidence in their abilities while the teacher is able to better prepare and move through lessons.

Accessibility also increases with the student having the ability to conduct research on their own. This once again assists with increasing accessibility in the classroom and may even lead to more student participation.

2. Student Efficiency

With correct technology implementation, students become more motivated to complete work. We have seen in our own students, that they prefer to complete assignments on their Chromebooks as opposed to using a notebook. Students will also have access to study materials like digital flashcards, practice tests, and more all from the comfort of their own device.

Certain apps like digital calendars or planners can also increase student efficiency. These applications can be set up to send digital reminders, task lists, and more. In addition, it also allows for better communication between the student and teacher outside of the classroom through email.

3. Prepared For the Future

With the world rapidly evolving into a tech focused one, it is more important than ever for students to be taught tech literacy. This concept prepares them for the wider world outside of school. Future careers will only continue to adapt to technology, so students who begin learning and getting comfortable now will only benefit them in the years to come.

It is also important for students to learn the impact of their online presence. The sooner they learn this the better crafted and private their online presence will be. We have all heard about the importance of limiting what information you put about yourself online, and teaching students about that now will help them in crafting their future online presence.

4. Better Engagement

Teachers can get frustrated when students are not engaging in the lesson. Technology can help reel in students and generate interest in the content being taught. Many online-based lessons are interactive which can stimulate younger students. For older students, having access to things like supplementary video material, documentaries, and more can all generate interest and engagement both inside and outside of the classroom.

The Bad

While technology in class has a number of benefits tied to it, it is important to still consider the potential drawbacks. Many students, both young and older, can all fall victim to the downsides of technology if not properly implemented.

1. Distractions

It is no surprise that technology can cause distractions in the classroom. For a teacher in a classroom of 20 plus students, it becomes incredibly difficult to govern good technology practices. This means that while a lesson is being taught, students can allow their focus to drift to a different tab or application. This can be avoided (for the most part) if the school implements proper safeguard procedures, but it is never guaranteed. Distractions are also more of an issue with younger students. Middle school classrooms may experience the worst distractions from technology as many students are excited to be using the new devices.

2. Cheating

Students having access to technology can also increase the possibility of cheating in the classroom. Even for students who may not normally cheat, they could become enticed to due to how accessible it is. There are countermeasures to this through screen and device monitoring but more often than not, schools will only go this option once they believe the student has already cheated.

Plagiarism is another easy thing to do with the presence of a device in the classroom. With the copy and paste commands, students can easily copy material from online, other students, or other sources without much work required. The development of ChatGPT has also made cheating a harder thing to detect on devices. This is because the content is generated by an AI and cannot be detected by most plagiarism systems.

3. Less Interaction

With students using technology in class, they may become inclined to participate less in the classroom. It becomes easier for students to hide behind a screen, get off task, and even communicate with other students non-verbally. Group work also becomes less stimulating for students as they all work on their devices instead of collaborating physically. Even outside of the classroom, students may become more distant during breaks and lunch as they become more focused on their device.

4. Unequal Access

Not all families have equal access to technology. While devices implemented by the school are provided to the student, many homes may have limited or no access to WI-FI making it next to impossible for a student to complete online assignments.

Technology in the Classroom

As you can see, there’s a number of benefits and drawbacks to the implementation of technology in class. In our own experience at The Tenney School we’ve seen a benefit in removing devices. More students are talking with each other, more focused in the classroom, etc. This isn’t to undermine the benefits though. Each school and student is different and we implore you to explore the possibilities of technology being implemented in your student’s life!

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