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February 21, 2018

Technology in the Classroom: Pros & Cons

Technology in the classroom is a hot topic among today’s educators. With students showing up to class with a smartphone or laptop in hand and districts constantly seeking funding to put technology in the hands of their students, teachers are left to decide whether or not this new trend is a good one. The truth is, technology, like all changes to education, has both pros and cons. Teachers and administrators need to understand technology in the classroom pros and cons, so they can make wise choices for their students.

Pro ― Technology Can Streamline Tedious Tasks

Taking attendance, tracking grades and even answering common student questions can take up a lot of a teacher’s time. Adding technology to the classroom can help eliminate some of these tasks, freeing the teacher to focus on delivering quality lessons to the class. Programs likeTop Hat, for instance, allow a teacher to manage tests securely in a digital environment that automatically grades and tracks them, while also allowing greater interaction with students and collaboration in the classroom.

Con ― Teachers Fear Adding More Screen Time

Today’s students are getting far more screen time then they should have. According to the Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens study, students ages 8 through 12 spend an average of six hours of time daily on screens for entertainment. This increases to almost nine hours for high school and upper middle school students. Adding technology in the classroom may add more screen time to that statistic. While the screens are used educationally, the overall impact of screen time on the brain is going to increase.

Pro ― Technology Is a Part of Modern Life

A teacher’s goal is to develop students who are prepared for life as an adult, and today’s adult world is one that utilizes technology. The more opportunities a student has to work with technology in school, the less intimidation the student will feel when entering the workforce and trying to embrace technology in their occupation.

Con ― Technology May Not Be Utilized to the Fullest

Adding a computer to the classroom that students can play on when done with their work, use to search Google and access for word processing purposes is not using technology to the fullest in the classroom. In order for technology to be used effectively in the classroom, teachers must be trained on how to incorporate it into their lesson planning well, weaving their instruction around the use of technology.

Pro ― Technology Can Increase Student Engagement

When used well and woven through a lesson by a skilled teacher, technology can increase student engagement. One way to do this is through comprehension checks. Teachers can use tools to check students’ understanding during the lesson, allowing them to make adjustments if students are struggling to grasp a concept. Some tools that allow for this include:

  • Padlet― This free tool allows students to add their responses to a classroom display that allows for comprehension checks and collaboration.
  • Socrative― This free tool allows teachers to track student progress, while also providing options for using questions to check for understanding during a lesson.
  • Plickers― This tool uses QR codes on cards held by students, which means it can be used even in classrooms that do not offer student devices.

In addition, teachers who use technology to present lessons can engage students more easily, because technology is a format most students are drawn to naturally.

Con ― Technology Can Be a Distraction

Students who have a tablet or computer in front of them during a lesson are going to be tempted to play instead of listening. Teachers must set clear expectations for the appropriate use of technology in order to ensure that this is not a problem.

Technology clearly has both pros and cons when used in the classroom, but the bottom line is this: We are living in a digital world, and students are interacting with technology, and possibly even bringing it with them to school, on a daily basis. The benefits of using technology in the classroom are far-reaching and need to be embraced by modern educators who seek to prepare students for adult life.

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