A popular debate that we have pondered over the years would have to be regarding educational technology and whether it is indeed more beneficial to our students or more harmful to them. The reality is we can argue both sides of this argument and when it comes to technology there are always advantages and disadvantages. This is also true when we consider educational technology used in the classroom to enhance our students’ learning. Our students are being brought up in a digital age and are exposed to technology and surrounded by it from childhood. These digital natives are immersed in technology from an early age and have the difficult task of learning how to maneuver all these different types of informational technologies while learning to decipher all the positives and negatives linked to the technology they are learning to navigate.
This week’s debate focussed on analyzing the use of technology in the classroom and whether it enhances our students’ learning. Both debate teams did an excellent job of presenting different benefits and drawbacks when we consider using technology in our classrooms and made valid arguments regarding the ability of educational technology to enhance our students’ learning. If we have ever used technology in the classroom with our students, we can agree that technology is a great tool that engages our students, promotes collaboration amongst students, and adds a fun factor to our teaching (Himmelbach, 2022). We can also agree that technology allows our students to easily access information and it helps various students follow along and further their understanding when introduced properly (Explorance, 2022). On the other hand, anyone that has ever used technology in the classroom can attest to the fact that technology is amazing until it does not work, and we encounter technical problems. Some researchers argue that technology serves as a distraction in the classroom and can overstimulate some students. Technology can also be quite pricey which leads to drawbacks in dealing with expenses and can bring forth issues with equity. I truly believe we could side with either argument presented in class and our final answer concerning this discussion will depend greatly on our personal experiences with technology as well as our beliefs pertaining to technology in the classroom.
Technology is something that has kept evolving over the years and we have been able to bare witness to this when we observe how educational technology has evolved over the course of time. If I compare what my experience with educational technology in the classroom was like to that of my students currently, it is two very different worlds of possibilities.
“The learning environment is more dynamic than ever before, and as a result, today’s learners are learning in a way that [is] very different from how our educational system was originally designed” (Explorance, 2022).
Looking back at my experience with technology in the classroom as a student, I recall us having a computer lab where we would get the chance to work with typing software, spelling games, and a computer game called Math Blaster. The majority of our research was done in a school library and the internet was something relatively new that we started exploring in high school. Nowadays, students have a plethora of educational technology that is available to them that they can use to further their learning in the classroom. Numerous educational apps, educational software, assessment tools, and audio-visual tools are available for educators to use to enhance their students’ learning when introduced and incorporated into their teaching with meaning and purpose.
As an educator, I use technology with my students on a daily basis to enhance their learning and enrich my teaching. For example, we use a projector daily so that my kiddos can follow along and stay focused on our lessons. I use PowerPoint and Canva to create visual-aid tools for my students in French. I also use YouTube and the internet to gain access to teaching resources in French – which in the past used to be harder to find and the selection of resources was very limited and at times outdated. Furthermore, I love using different educational apps – such as Kahoot or Quizlet – as assessment tools in our classroom to track the kiddos’ progress and assess their level of understanding. I also use Boom Cards to introduce new concepts/vocabulary to my students in French and I am a big fan of creating QR codes to support literacy and numeracy centers in my classroom which turns our classroom iPads into digital workbooks. For me, it is a no-brainer and I full-heartedly believe technology enhances our students’ learning in the classroom. I will say though that if you choose to integrate technology into your teaching, you need to ensure that you are preparing your material (and testing it out) ahead of time and finding ways to incorporate technology in meaningful ways that will further your students’ learning. We can not just use technology for the sake of saying we use it – technology needs to be integrated into our teaching with purpose so that our students can get the most out of it and they can enhance their learning through the use of technology.