Technology benefits students in the classroom is something I have heard millions of times throughout these four years in education. In all of placements – fields, pre internship, and internship – I have tried to incorporate technology as much as I can into the classroom because I have always been told that it benefits the students. During my internship, I hardly saw teachers using technological tools aside from power points, smart boards, Kahoot!, Desmos, and some YouTube videos. This shocked me because I was always told technology is extremely important, so when I saw how little it was being used I was confused.
When the debate topic for this week emerged, I was excited to learn as to whether or not technology does enhance student learning. Both debaters presented their sides clearly, and outlined their thoughts in a way that left me intrigued and wanting to learn more.
On the agree side:
I find that technology is important to include in the classroom because it can benefit the students; however, the technology cannot be forced. I believe that when you are using technology in the classroom, it has to work with the lesson itself – it can’t just be forced in there because you are told that you need to use technology. Webster presented two articles that made me think back on to my own experience in using technology. The one article discusses that three students were observing a puppet show and had to locate the puppets after the show. One student watched the puppet show live, another watched a video recording of the puppet show, and the third used a computer where they could push buttons to make the puppets appear. In this article, they noticed that the students who used technology were able to walk directly to the puppets; however, the student who watched it live could not locate them right away. This leads to the concept of retention. In the other article that Webster presented, it discusses the benefits of technology – and one of those being ‘improved retention rates”. I have seen this first hand in my internship, because whenever I demonstrated a math concept using Desmos or another technological tool where the students can view what is actually going on, they seem to remember it. Whenever they ask a question and I encourage them to think back on the lesson where we used Desmos to help us understand, they remember what I am talking about; whereas, when I ask them to remember a lesson where we just wrote notes, they don’t recall. For this reason, I think technology definitely benefits students in the school.
On the disagree side:
Although I agree with using technology in the classroom, Melanie presented some topics that made me question where I stand. In the article that Melanie presented, it discusses the idea that teachers are only using technology in the classroom for the sake of using technology – which is one of my concerns in regards to technology as I mentioned above. In another article that was presented to us this week, it discusses that students who type everything word for word on their laptops do poorly on tests; whereas those who physically write the notes out succeed. I noticed that when I am in lectures and I have a laptop with me, I hardly pay attention to what the prof is saying because I am solely concentrating on writing notes down. However, when I am physically writing stuff down, I am concentrating on the what the prof is saying so I can add my own little side notes where need be. Especially in a math classroom, I find that physically writing stuff down is extremely beneficial because you can listen to what the teacher is saying, write down the examples, and then write your own little steps alongside the notes. If I were to use a laptop to take notes in a math classroom, personally I would have no idea what is going on.
Overall, if I had to decide whether I agree or disagree that technology enhances student learning, I would have to agree for the reasons listed above. Although I do have some concerns in regards to technology in the classroom, I think if we integrate technology properly, it can definitely aid students in their learning.