Technology allowed in classrooms 1 Technology Should Be Allowed In Classrooms



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TECHNOLOGY ALLOWED IN CLASSROOMS 1


Technology Should Be Allowed In Classrooms

Kayla N. Neff

Blue Ridge Community College

Abstract


Though allowing technology in classrooms can welcome mass distraction, can hinder academic performance, and can be costly, it is essential that all students have the opportunity to study textbooks and other resources electronically, feel reassured about their own safety and security during school hours, feel satisfied, experienced, and motivated with their education, and be offered a well-rounded, top of the line education, regardless of economic status or home environment. By integrating technology in schools, students will have brighter futures.

Technology allowed in classrooms


The debate about whether or not technology should be allowed in schools and in classrooms is long-standing. Teachers, tired and stressed, have exhausted all of their resources battling with students about technology in classrooms. Due to teachers confiscating technology, and due to principals initiating rules to reduce the use of technology, students are rebelling, thus only creating more tension and stress. This is why, despite that technology in classrooms can cause mass distraction, can hinder academic performance, and can be costly, incorporating technology in classroom settings allows electronic delivery of resources such as textbooks and electronic gradebooks, reassures safety and security for students, enhances student satisfaction, experience, and motivation, and offers technology and connections to underprivileged and rural students who otherwise would not be exposed to such devices.

Without textbooks and other resources, students would not be able to learn. Textbooks and other resources, however, are costly, heavy, and consume much space. Delivering textbooks and other resources to students electronically reduce costs, lighten the weight of backpacks, and free up space in rooms and lockers. Not to mention that electronic textbooks and resources are incapable of collecting dust. Another benefit of electronic resources is software, such as electronic gradebooks and similar software. Electronic gradebooks are capable of tracking and recording grades and attendance and can benefit teachers, students, and parents. Because of electronic gradebooks, teachers can generate an attendance report and send letters to other staff members and parents. In addition to letters, parents can also receive phone calls regarding their child’s absences. Furthermore, parents can log in to the electronic gradebook with a password and track their child’s schedule, grades, standardized tests, assignments, tardies, and discipline problems, which is immensely beneficial since children tend to not talk openly with their parents.

Incorporating technology in classrooms can promote and ensure security and safety amongst students and their parents, especially in the case of cell phones. Parent and political groups claim that students need cell phones before and after school for “safety and security reasons”, citing the “scarce supply of payphones” and the “non-existent after school programs” as reasons why cell phones are needed in school to “arrange for transportation or deal with an emergency” (Williams, 2008, pg. 2) In fact, most parents enjoy the idea of being able to contact their children at a moment’s notice, especially in regards to their whereabouts and current activity.

Allowing technology in schools and in classrooms increases students satisfaction, experience, and motivation. The technology and software that are integrated with computers, such as podcasting and on-demand streaming videos, engage students. In fact, one fifth grade teacher said that she noticed her students “got more excited about their book reports” when an audio podcast showed the book cover and carried the voice of the student reading his report (Davis, 2009, pg. 3). Maclean, a Canadian weekly news magazine, unveiled that students find PowerPoint lectures more enjoyable than “traditional presentations”, and they also unveiled that “clickers, small hand-held wireless devices, used for in-class quizzes, are popular with students and teachers” (Maclean, 2014, pg. 2). Allowing technology in classrooms can promote computer literacy, an essential skill needed in today’s workforce. In fact, an increasing number of employers are expecting technological skills of their employees. Furthermore, Laura Coleman, an associate editor of State News magazine, stated that technology can motivate and challenge students by “engaging them in complex analysis and problem solving”, which can help the students “develop the technology skills needed to succeed in the twenty-first century workplace” (Coleman, 2009, pg. 1). Coleman also adds that certain technology, mainly software programs, can assist a teacher in identifying “a student’s weaknesses in content areas” before generating “tests and practice problems specific to the areas where [the students] need improvement” (Coleman, 2009, pg. 2)

Finally, allowing technology in schools can offer classes and devices that underprivileged and rural students would otherwise not be exposed to. Virtual classes can help increase accessibility to classes and teachers that some students would not normally be able to experience. Virtual classes can be used to “fill gaps in curricula, whether it is with Advanced Placement courses, core subjects, or things people refer to as electives” in addition to connecting rural and disadvantaged students “to nationally board-certified teachers” (Coleman, 2009, pg. 1). As not every family has access to technology at home, it is imperative that schools give all students opportunities to take advantage of and learn from.

Though allowing technology in schools and classrooms can allow for the electronic delivery of resources, such as textbooks and electronic gradebooks, can reassure safety and security for students, can enhance student satisfaction, experience, and motivation, and can offer technology and connections to underprivileged and rural students who otherwise would not be exposed to such devices, technology in classrooms can cause mass distraction. Armstrong Williams, a Christian conservative who writes nationally syndicated columns and hosts radio and television shows, argues, in regards to cell phones, that “students survived for hundreds of years without cell phones and they don’t need them now” (Williams, 2008, pg. 1). Williams goes on to say that cell phones and other forms of technology are “distracting to the user and to other students” because they are used to “send text messages during class, browse sexual content on the Internet, cheat on tests, and even coordinate drug deals on school grounds” (Williams, 2008, pg. 1). Williams adds that regulating the use of technology in schools puts “undue stress on administrators and teachers” (Williams, 2008, pg. 1). In fact, in regards to cell phones, some teachers have reported that they are constantly trying to stop students from sending text messages during class, especially since it is sometimes difficult to spot or detect. Ron Kurtis, an engineer, writer, and founder of School for Champions, an educational website, supports Williams’s claims by stating that teachers are constantly struggling with technology in class, particularly texting. Kurtis thinks that technology in the classroom “distracts students from lessons” and that “the ringing” of cell phones “disrupts the entire classroom” (Kurtus, 2014, pg. 1). Kurtus adds that other problems involving technology in schools include “thefts of the devices and insulting texts that cause fights between students” (Kurtus, 2014, pg. 1).

In addition to mass distraction, technology in schools can hinder academic performance. Moreover, not only will the grades of students suffer, but “the poor grades also can reflect the instructor’s ability to teach” (Kurtus, 2014, pg. 2). According to Michael Zwaagstra, an education expert, high school teacher, and city council member, studies have shown that there “may not be a link between higher academic achievement and more access to computers at school” (Zwaagstra, 2009, pg. 1). In fact, technology introduced to students at a young age can actually stunt “basic math and reading skills” - a result of students becoming too dependent on technology (Zwaagstra, 2009, pg. 1). Maclean discovered that “students with laptops had lower test results than those without” and that “texting students took longer to perform simple tasks, such as reading a written passage, than those who did not” (Maclean, 2014, pg. 2).

Lastly, integrating technology in schools and in classrooms is a costly ordeal. Since technology rapidly becomes obsolete, upgrading and replacing must occur regularly. Schools simply do not have the “more than $26 million [that is] annually spent” to provide every classroom and every student with all of the expensive modern-day technology (Zwaagstra, 2009, pg. 2). Furthermore, because not all teachers will use technology effectively in the classroom, proper training “takes time and money and cannot be achieved through day-long sessions”; it is even strongly suggested that school budgets “not swing too far in favor of information technology” (Zwaagstra, 2009, pg.1)



In conclusion, though having technology in classrooms can cause mass distraction, can hinder academic performance, and can be costly, it is essential for students that such technology be offered so that resources can be delivered electronically, safety and security can be established, satisfaction, experience, and motivation is not lost, and technology and connections are exposed to underprivileged and rural students who would otherwise not have such advancements.
References

Coleman, L. (2009). Technology Can Increase Learning. In R. Espejo (Ed.), At Issue. Has Technology Increased

Learning? Detroit: Greenhaven Press. (Reprinted from Wired for Success: Schools Using More

Technology to Educate Students, State News, pp. 20-32, 2006)

Davis, R. (2009). Computers in Classrooms Can Increase Learning. In R. Espejo (Ed.), At Issue. Has Technology Increased Learning? Detroit: Greenhaven Press. (Reprinted from Computers in the Classroom, Evansville Courier & Press, 2007, August 14)

Kurtus, R. (2014). Cell Phones Should Be Banned in Schools. In R. Espejo (Ed.), At Issue. Cell Phones in Schools. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press. (Reprinted from Improving School Performance by Eliminating Texting and Cell Phones, www.school-for-champions.com, 2009)

Smartphones Do Not Benefit Classroom Learning. (2013). In R. Espejo (Ed.), Opposing Viewpoints. Smartphones. Detroit: Greenhaven Press. (Reprinted from Maclean's, 2010, September 28)

Williams, A. (2008). Cell Phones Should Be Banned in Schools. In J. Carroll (Ed.), Opposing Viewpoints. School Policies. Detroit: Greenhaven Press. (Reprinted from Classrooms Are No Place for Cell Phones, Townhall.com, 2006)

Zwaagstra, M. (2009). Computers in Classrooms May Not Increase Learning. In R. Espejo (Ed.), At Issue. Has Technology Increased Learning? Detroit: Greenhaven Press. (Reprinted from Computers in the Classroom: Technology Overboard?, Backgrounder, pp. 1-5, 2008)



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