There are ongoing debates about the impact of technology on today’s children. With adamant advocates on both sides, it is difficult to discern whether technology has a negative or positive influence on education and the classroom. Fortunately, several scholars have thoroughly researched and approached this topic to identify benefits to both students and teachers. Ultimately, a moderate balance of technology in the classroom has been shown to enhance the classroom experience for most students. (Ferrell, 2002).
Benefits to the Students
1. Attention Keeper for Students. Contrary to common belief, technology has not negatively impacted the attention span of today’s students. It has altered it to be sure, but not necessarily in a negative way. Many students today are members of the Net Generation, those who grew up in the digital age and with technology and the Internet since birth. These students are “by practice multitaskers,” capable of splitting their attention between multiple inputs at any given time and deriving important information from each input. As a result, technology in the classroom keeps students attention because it is, after all, the primary input source to which students are accustom. If you have resisted the incorporation of technology and find your students lack attention, try introducing technology into your classroom and see if the attention span of your students improves. You may just be surprised. (Hicks, 2011).
2. More Efficient Response to Technology. Because Net Genners have grown up with technology and digital devices, this has fostered an educational environment where students are primed to have a more efficient response to technology as a learning tool. Hicks found that based on neurological research, “consistent technology use rewires the brain to respond more efficiently to technology.” (2011). For better retention and increased engagement with students, technology may not only be beneficial but crucial as a result of the environment in which students were raised.
3. Better Engagement for Students with Disabilities. Students with developmental and learning disabilities are equally able to reap the benefits of technology in the classroom. In fact, “technology has provided students with severe disabilities many rehabilitative tools that aid them in gaining cognitive and physical skills and abilities.” (Hicks, 2011). Many of these students already rely on technology for quality of life and are comfortable with the use of technology. A wonderful example of technological benefits for students with special needs is augmentative and alternative communication which assists autistic students by providing enhanced or alternative means of communication. (austimspeaks.org).
Although this is a relatively short list of benefits, it is certainly not intended to be exclusive. Instead, it exemplifies a few of the many ways technology has served to benefit students in the classroom. Even with examples of how technology benefits students, some teachers remain resistant to implementing the technology. Clearly, there are times when technology may not be the most effective means of teaching, such as when teaching Calculus. A PowerPoint slideshow would not be the go-to choice for most teachers. However, teachers have a variety of reasons for resisting technology, including the technological learning curve and potential disruption digital devices bring when they are not in working order. Nonetheless, there are significant benefits technology offers teachers as well.
Benefits to the Teachers
1. Save Time, Reduce Workload, and Increase Efficiency. For tech-savvy teachers, leveraging technology can be amazing time management and saving tool. Whether it is developing a lesson plan, administering an exam, entering grades, or communicating with parents, technology offers teachers tools to balance their work and personal lives while maintaining contact with students and integrity in teaching. (Hicks, 2011)
2. Ability to Involve Students in an Interactive Way. Since students are often more engaged when technology is balanced in classroom instruction, technology offers teachers a way to involve students in the learning process. When students have a more interactive learning experience, they tend to retain more information and demonstrate a higher interest in overall learning. Integrating technology with a purpose and understanding, teachers can elevate the classroom experience for all students. (Hicks, 2011).
3. Save Resources and Add to the Bottom Line. One practical way in which technology benefits teachers is by saving resources, which adds to the bottom line and, hopefully, frees up funding for additional uses. The reduction of reliance on paper tests, for example, cut resource costs in schools making technological integration very appealing for teachers and administrators alike.
The classroom scene has evolved with technology and will continue to do so. By developing a balanced integration of technology into the classroom, students and teachers can enjoy the benefits and put technology into positive use.
Additionally, technology is aiding in creating new ways to approach old problems, such as field trip planning, adequately preparing substitutes for classroom instruction, and volunteer pool management. These are just three of the many technological resources App-Garden has developed. With App-Garden’s education and academic history and know-how, schools receive well thought out, cloud-based solutions for previously dreaded administrative tasks. If you are looking to save resources, increase efficiency and give yourself some time back in your day, contact App-Garden to learn how its software products can benefit you.
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Hicks, Stephanie Diamond. Technology in Today’s Classroom: Are you a Tech-Savvy Teacher? Clearing House. Sep2011, Vol. 84 Issue 5, p188-191. 4p. DOI: 10.1080/00098655.2011.557406.
D’Angelo, Jill M., Wooley, Sherry Anny. Technology in the Classroom: Friend or Foe., Education. Summer2007, Vol 127, Issue 4.
Autism Speaks, https://www.autismspeaks.org/technology-and-autism