Do benefits of technology in the classroom outnumber its harms?
We explored our debates in EC & I 830 with this first topic:” Does technology in the classroom enhance learning?” This is a really controversial topic with its advocates as Janeen and Catrina, and protesters as Will and Michael. According to my personal experience as a learner and educator, I am more enchanted by the glamour of today’s tech immersed classes. So before the debate, I was one of the fans of this idea and this is one reason why I attended EC & I 830 class. Fascinatingly, a new aspect in my class was pre-voting and post-voting which can be kind of informative and fun tech aid in classes. After listening to the opposing debaters’ ideas, I hesitated to make a certain “yes” as approving the enhancement of learning by technology.
As an English language educator, I usually got help from the internet to provide audio-visual aids for my classes and also introduced different language learning games and podcasts to my learners for entertaining them or asking them to practice more while at home. Interestingly, most of them got more involved in their learning process, interacted with others more and became to some extent more independent learners. So they could spend as much time as needed for themselves and their learning was more personalized as well.
However, there are always opposing ideas in debates. The opponents of tech in classrooms blame it for being distractive rather than constructive. Learners can be tempted to surf irrelevant pages and waste their time unconsciously.
Dr. Barth (2020) tried using totally virtual teaching and claimed that you should not expect learning through virtual education since learning takes place through scenarios and story-based learning. You can watch his talk here.
In addition, Mary Jo Madda explains two cases of boosting technology in school divisions which ended up in negative results rather than better education. She emphasizes on the role of teacher as the key element for success of learners and highlights the preference of teachers for making technology usage beneficial or not.
Some other scholars such as Wexler (2021) also reject the efficiency of technology in improving learning because although many schools or learning centers themselves with technological devices, many teachers are reluctant to use it which does not put tech benefits under question but is about teachers’ tech saviness.
Another reason for being against technology usage is the cost it accompanies. Equipping school divisions with suitable tech devices and educating learners how to use them costs an arm and a leg. However, I personally recon that it cannot be regarded as a disadvantage of technology itself.
Moreover, technology can make learners more dependent looking from a different perspective. Many students get addicted to using tech-relevant tools such as message auto-correction and Grammarly rather than reading or doing research about them.
In conclusion, just like any other issues, educational technology (Ed Tech) can be both beneficial and detrimental. What matters is how or when to use it .remember that it can be regarded as a facilitator tool for learning not a substitute. Even if you do not like it, it is going to drown the modern world in itself just like the boom of cars and mobile phones.