Technology in the classroom, for better or for worse?

Technology has taken over our daily lives. We use the computer and phone every day to work, to stay in contact with our friends and society, and to keep ourselves entertained. Technology has also taken over elementary, middle, and high school classrooms. Digi-boards and Ipads are being used to advance education quality. For this post I’m gonna focus on technology in elementary classrooms. Why do schools today decide to invest in technological devices such as Ipads and Digi-boards? Are those devices beneficial or eventually disadvantageous? 

A good point Chris Meylan made in his TedTalk called “Technology… Tool or Toy? Exploring play in the classroom” is that Ipads can be a good tool once you know in what way you as a teacher should encourage the students to use them. By incorporating play into learning students will be more engaged and more attentive. IPads can become easily a distraction too since the devices allow multiple non-educating games to be downloaded on it as well. According to Meylan we should put play and work together to benefit from each other. When children are involved they should be able to understand that learning can be fun.

I agree that we should incorporate play into work, and show children that learning is fun by using, for instance, an Ipad. But learning through only technology can be very limited. Learning through these technologies can become very individual; kids are on their own iPad in their own bubble. This can lead to children not engaging much with one another anymore. Furthermore, it can be very bad for their development of social skills. It can result in having trouble with face-to-face interaction since they are so used to having the device between them meditating. This enetually can be very harmful to a child’s social life. According to Rebecca Smith in her article “Facebook and MySpace generation ‘cannot form relationships’ “Children may be less able to form relationships as they do not learn the physical clues involved with communication including body language, tone of voice and facial expressions” (Smith 2008). Therefore it is important that the school system does not allow for the devices to take over the whole process of teaching. There needs to be a good balance between human lead teaching and interaction (drawing together on paper, play together on the school field, having debates, etc.)

If you ask me a 20-year-old student who grew up with technology and e-learning I agree with the fact that you learn faster and more efficiently as a child while playing. However, I do think that it is very very important that a child in the first period of his/her life is very limited in the exposure to computers, iPads, TVs, etc. A Child first needs to get the know the physical real world around them. Please do not give a 4 year old an iPad for unlimited time! Teach them that technology can help you, but that you do not always need it to learn. First human interaction/learning after that; technology learning.