Take a moment to think: how do you imagine an effective lesson go nowadays? Do you see a teacher presenting a boring, endless lecture and the students quietly listening? Or do you see an active lesson with a fun teacher who allows the students to take part in the process? Of course the second visualization is more attractive. How do you feel about throwing some technology into the mix?
Here, we’ll encounter two opposite opinions:
- Some teachers and parents think that the technology has more disadvantages than advantages. It makes the students unfocused and lazy. It dumbs down the interest in studying.
- Others believe that when technology is put to good use, it speeds up the process of learning and comprehension.
Educational technology has its advantages and disadvantages. Both sides of the discussion are victims to myths about the harmful effects or benefits it has for the learning process. Today, we’ll focus on the myths linked to the harmful effects. Let’s bust 9 of them!
1) Technology Distracts Students’ Attention
A study published in the Journal of Media Education showed that students spent an average of 20.9% of class time using their devices for non-educational purposes. During a typical school day, an average responded used a digital device 11.43 times for non-class purposes. Yes, these findings are serious and show that technology has mesmerizing power. Yes, it may distract the students from the educational process.
However, when the educator turns technology to their advantage, they show and teach the students how to use it properly. Teachers share positive experiences: when they use technology towards a student-centered teaching process, it actually makes the class more focused.
2) Technology Negatively Affects Students’ Writing Skills
People are getting used to the language that tweets impose. Abbreviations and slang are ruining the way they express themselves. In addition, the fact that they use word processors with auto-correction functions ruins their spelling skills.
That might be true only to a certain extent. Technology, when used properly, can actually improve a student’s writing skills. In fact, there are services like AustralianWritings, which connect students with professional writers. Unlike a teacher, these tutors have time to explain the process of research and writing step by step. Thanks to the collaboration and all tutorials they get, they can finally understand academic writing.
3) Technology Leads to Chaos in the Classroom
Many teachers are worried about the discipline. They are aware that interactive teaching methods are necessary for the modern educational system, but they are worried that technology would lead to too much interaction.
The right tools and methods always engage and challenge the students to ask questions, give opinions, and participate in the learning process. Yes, technology supports interaction and yes, it could lead to chaos if the teacher doesn’t know how to discipline the students. If, however, the teacher has proper training and experience, he will motivate the students to use the tools and apps in a productive way. It’s all about authority not imposed, but earned.
4) It Negatively Affects the Students’ Memory
When students have access to technology, they have tons of information available to them on a daily basis. You ask them to Google a concept and they come across endless results. This may seem like a problem, but it’s not.
In fact, technology actually helps students to improve knowledge retention. They can pin all useful resources in a special EduClipper board. They can join online discussion groups or form one under the teacher’s supervision. And they can start blogging! All these activities help them remember the information they learn.
5) Gamification Doesn’t Contribute to Serious Learning
Gamification is a huge educational trend. Many parents and teachers are approaching it with suspicion, thinking that games are not meant for the classroom.
However, when games are integrated into the curriculum, they make learning more fun. They increase the engagement of the students and they motivate them to progress towards achievements. Badges and levels are much more attractive and less intimidating than grades.
6) Technology Makes Students Dependent on Collaboration
Yes, most activities that involve use of technology in the classroom are closely linked to collaboration. No, that collaboration is not addictive.
In fact, technology encourages individual learning, too! Students with different abilities and learning styles can access the resources that fit their needs. They can review concepts on their own time and go ahead with the curriculum if they want to.
7) Everyone Needs a Tablet, and Not Everyone Has the Money
Many opponents of the implementation of technology in education are worried about low-income families. How would someone feel if the teacher requires them to bring a tablet, but their parents don’t have money for it?
There’s no need to worry about these things. The schools provide these resources. If the school has no budget for such investment, the teacher’s tablet or laptop is more than enough to keep the students engaged. They can use it to show educational videos and teach the students how to research the web productively and responsibly.
8) Technology Numbs the Student’s Listening Skills
When a teacher is presenting a lesson in the old-fashioned way, the students have no other choice but to listen. What happens when the students have access to technology? Some of them might not pay attention to the teacher.
This is a myth. Technology, in fact, improves the learner’s listening and comprehension skills. Podcasts, in particular, are a very effective tool for that purpose. The students gain an ability to gather information through multimedia and process it in a faster way.
9) Technology Makes Students Expect Fun, and That’s Not a Good Thing
One of the many reasons teachers rely on technology is to make the educational process attractive for the students. They all like computers, tablets and smartphones, so why not use these tools to their advantage? Is there a problem when you make the lessons too fun? Will the students always expect that kind of effort from the teacher? Will they have less interest in textbooks, exams, tests, and other tools of traditional education?
The fact that technology turns learning into an appealing process shouldn’t ever worry us. Through the right approach, teachers engage ad challenge the students with interactive methods. This is a trend every school should follow. As for the boring textbooks, a tech-savvy learner always knows how to make the lessons more fun by searching for more information on the web.
There’s no reason to deny it: we’re living in the world of modern technologies. They are everywhere! Teachers from all corners of the globe are able to use apps and tools to motivate the students and teach them in a more engaging way.
And that, of course, is a good thing.