Technology has wormed its way into many aspects of our lives, like those Ziosk touch-screen ordering devices at restaurants or online grocery shopping. But while it does make completing tasks easier, technology shouldn’t be the primary method of teaching in schools.
In a 2016 study by the American College Health Association, internet usage was among the top-10 factors that affected a student negatively.
Public reliance on the internet and technology can have a negative impact on students in the form of internet dependence. The problem begins with the integration of the internet and homework assignments.
In order to maintain the quality of education, it is important to balance the use of technology within the classroom.
More often than not, schools are putting greater loads of information online, making students more dependent on laptops and tablets to complete assignments and do research.
As technology advances and further creeps into our daily lives, this number is sure to grow, and striking a fine balance needs to start being in the forefront of educators and students minds.
Along with the dependence on the internet, there is also a dependence on classroom projectors and slides.
It’s too common in classes today to stare dead-eyed at a slide that transcribes the entire lecture and be left wondering why the teacher is speaking in the first place. While it might work for some who aren’t auditory learners, the problem is when the slides end or the projector isn’t working.
Classes are left in silence with nothing to really say or debate, or teachers simply have nothing else prepared so class ends with busy work while the real assignments are left online.
Making everything available online also means the decline of the pen and paper as the primary means for taking notes, which is an important part of learning in school. Students don’t retain information as efficiently when typing it out.
“The students who were taking longhand notes in our studies were forced to be more selective—because you can’t write as fast as you can type. And that extra processing of the material that they were doing benefited them,” said Pam A. Mueller, a social psychology graduate student at Princeton University in an interview with NPR
Using laptops also creates a distraction for other students in the class, as most students tend to use their laptops as a form of entertainment. Especially if a teacher is giving a boring lecture, it’s too easy to open another tab and doze off on Tumblr or Facebook.
While some teachers have rules on the first day that explicitly state that laptops are not to be used, it’s inevitable that someone forgets and uses it–while the teacher says nothing–allowing others to follow suit, and now half of the class is watching Netflix.
Another common feature in this future of education is the concept of online classes, which has serious drawbacks.
Not every student is the master of time management, meaning that online classes end up getting put on the backburner for other responsibilities because of the lack of face-to-face interaction with the students and teachers.
Students need stronger organizational and time management skills to keep up with the coursework, and while that is a good way to practice for the future, it’s hard to juggle the load from other classes and still pay attention to a screen.
As well as the depersonalization that online teachers have, a heavier load of work is to be expected when taking online classes as well. “Expect to spend at least 10 hours per week on each online course,” according to Petersons, an online news publication.
However, online instructional videos can provide a supplement to the material a student learns in the classroom.
Scrolling through comments on these videos, it’s common to see things like “This was more helpful than my teacher’s explanation,” or “You took five minutes to explain something that my teacher took 45 minutes to explain.”
This can be a good way for teachers to learn what exactly it is that makes students so tired of their lectures.
Though technology in the realm of education can be a viable path for future generations, the best thing to do is find a suitable balance between taking advantage of the technology that’s offered to us and being able to have in-person teaching be at the center of education.