For or Against Tech to Enhance Learning: Where do you stand?

Technology in the classroom–this most definitely can be debated on whether or not it enhances learning or distracts from learning. Like many things when it comes to education, there are pros and cons to almost everything. I do however heavily favor the idea that technology most definitely does enhance learning in the classroom– that being said, when used appropriately. Like anything in education, there is always a time and place for everything and I feel that teachers need to consciously consider when technology should be introduced and used in the classroom.

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One reoccurring point that was brought up on both sides of the debate this week was the importance of the teacher’s role in implementing the positive use of technology in the classroom. Teachers need to be aware of their goals in using technology and consider what routines and procedures they need to set out in order to ensure that their goals are met to enhance learning. I agree with what Dani states in her blog post Post Disputandum Week 1:

“regardless of how much or how little technology we have available in the classroom, without the direct support and guidance of the teacher, there will be no opportunity to enhance learning or deepen learning for our students.  Teachers play an integral part of ensuring that technology is used properly and safely for students.”

Image result for tech pd for teachersI am a firm believer in setting out expectations with familiar routines and procedures. I feel that when it comes to technology many teachers do not understand how to set appropriate expectations as well as feel lost when guiding students to use technology to enhance their learning. I do feel that teachers need to be trained in ways that they can use technology in their classrooms and not just provided technology to use. This will ensure that technology is being used to deepen learning and not just used for surface level learning.

I feel that the disagree side in the debate did a great job of presenting concerns with technology enhancing learning. I feel that as a teacher it is important to consider what negative impacts technology could have on learning to ensure that you are able to positively use technology to its full advantages. Team disagree shared the article Negative Effects of Using Technology in Today’s Classroom. This article is a great article that outlines aspects of technology we as teachers need to be considerate of while planning to incorporate technology into learning opportunities for students.

One of the negative effects that this article list is student distraction when using technology. As we are well aware technology can be very distracting to students. In many cases, students become more focused on the technology itself than the actual learning. The article shares how many students are consumed with creating their presentation and in turn, the research and learning falls to the side as they are putting more time into creating a presentation with tech tools than using the technology to dive deeper into learning a topic. This is a good reminder to teachers that we need to set the expectations to focus on the learning of the information prior to the presentation so that the technology is in fact used to enhance and deepen the understanding of a topic and the learning.

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As stated above I do believe that if used appropriately technology has the opportunity to enhance learning. The article Teaching in a Digital Age: How Educators Use Technology to Improve Student Learning as shared by team agree shares many pros to using technology to enhance learning. One pro shared in this article that I completely agree with is how technology improves access for students. Technology allows us to access the most up to date learning resources at any given time. This allows students to develop a deeper understanding of topics as they have access to up to date information and access to a variety of information on any given topic. In a time where information is changing and progressing at a rate where many can’t even begin to keep up with, technology allows students to access the most current and up to date information. This allows us to more than only having access to textbooks that unfortunately in many cases are outdated quickly due to the permanency of information in print.

Another way technology enhances learning also listed in the above article is that technology extends purpose and gives an audience for student work. I find this aspect of technology to be extremely powerful and beneficial for students. This allows students to be a part of a larger community beyond the four walls of their classrooms. They are able to collaborate with students and experts from all over the world with the use of technology. It is known that students will put greater effort into their work if they know that the will be published online.

This past term my classroom launched a large project. We called it the The Happiness Project. For this project, my classroom launched a classroom blog. Each week different students had the opportunity to be a guest blogger and share what we were learning about in our happiness project. This project allowed students to use the blog as a platform to share their learning with others outside of our classroom. It was an extremely rewarding experience for my student and they felt extremely empowered to be able to share knowledge with others. The students commented on how they would ensure that they put great effort into writing on the blog making sure they use their best possible work as it is published for others to view. This project allowed them to connect and learn from others that would not have been possible without technology. This was a great experience for me to see how powerful the use of technology can be in my classroom.

I feel that both sides of this argument are very important to consider when looking at how a teacher can effectively incorporate technology into the classroom. One major barrier that I feel teachers have to work with is the access to technology and how costly it can be for schools to purchase the appropriate technology so all students have access to the technology that they need. I agree with what Shelly in that the access to technology can be an extremely frustrating challenge for teachers.

 “due to the limited funds available and therefore limited access to technology in our schools. Many of us as teachers seem to have a willingness to embrace technology, and move teachers and students along the SAMR model, however, regular accessibility is a feat in frustration.”

I feel that this was a successful debate and both sides provided lots of great points that allowed us all to consider the pros and cons of using technology to enhance student learning. I feel that as a teacher we need to deeply understand both sides of this topic in order to effectively incorporate technology to enhance learning in the classroom. Great job team!

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About cdegelman

Grade 3/4 teacher at Douglas Park School in Regina, Saskatchewan
This entry was posted in EC&I 830. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to For or Against Tech to Enhance Learning: Where do you stand?

  1. esthermaeers says:

    Thanks Channing for fully explaining both sides of this debate. Hearing about how teachers use technology really helps me to envision how it can benefit students. Your Happiness Project sounds wonderful and I bet it helps with student engagement.

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  2. wileywonders says:

    I completely agree that we need to teach students how to use tech tools and create routines and procedures for using them. Even without tech students can find distractions. Something as simple as a ruler can be turned into a distracting toy. So teaching the difference between using an item as a tool and a toy, as well as setting up expectations for use in your classroom is vital.
    I love how your class used technology in such a positive and powerful way. This truly demonstrates how tech can be used not only to enhance learning, but also to make a difference.

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  3. I have loved following your class’ happiness project Channing, and it is such a great example of how technology enhances learning and engagement through extending purpose and audience for student work! Like you talk about in your post, the role that you play in setting up the routines, expectations and guidelines as the teacher is a huge factor in making your project a success for your students to shine and go beyond the 4 walls of your classroom. So great to see a real example of technology enhancing learning!

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