Debate #1- Is Technology in the Classroom Worth the Battle?

To start off, I want to explain that I was very much on the agree side before this debate. I have only ever had minimal problems due to technology in the classroom and wouldn’t be able to teach like I do without it. Since I took part in the agree side of the debate, I spent a lot of time reading and researching how technology helps with education. After this debate, I still agree that technology enhances learning, even if my opponents had many great arguments that I can definitely agree with. But in the end of it all, if used appropriately, technology definitely enhances learning. in the classroom.

With this post, I want to take the arguments that were said and relate them to my experience with technology in the classroom so I am able to really reflect on both sides of this debate.

Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL)

What is Technology Enhanced Learning? Emma Cullen explains in her article that TEL is: is any technology that enhances the learning experience. This means that technology is used to maximize student learning in a way that gives them the best education possible.

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Here is why TEL is Important in the Classroom

  1. Access to information and resources– If I didn’t have my work laptop to find lesson plans, I would be eating supper at school! I would be translating and making my own worksheets since there is a huge lack of resources in French. My students would also lack access to important news articles that aren’t always found in textbooks. In the study done by McKnight et al, they found that: “technology improved access for teachers as well as for students, to more up-todate learning resources and to materials at anytime and anywhere“.
  2. Increases Engagement– When I think of my students who need hands on and interactive learning, who weren’t designed for “traditional school”, I love seeing them achieve great things! My students are working on a podcast on our laptops right now and you should see their engagement! And it’s in French too! It’s great for those who have different skills to be able to shine and the others can work on these skills as well.
  3. Tech skills- WGU explains in their article that in a classroom that uses technology: “Children can start getting technological skills early that they’ll need in the future.” This also goes with skills within digital citizenship, which are needed to be taught in the classroom since so many students use their phones without having the knowledge of safety online. And of course, many jobs require tech skills, even as small as typing, so why not start early and give them the most practice possible.
  4. Teacher Time– I really appreciate that technology has made some of those… not so great teacher tasks we have to do a bit more manageable. Communicating with parents is much easier which makes problem-solving faster, inputting marks can be done on one screen and tech platforms like Edsby make attendance easier for everyone! We have a lot more time for what we went to University for: teaching!
  5. Communication and Collaboration: Having access to technology allows students to get a learning experience that is worldwide. Jason Brown has many valid points in his TEDTalk about using technology: ” There are people out there whose passion is your subject and they want to make your students feel enriched and engaged in their subject”. With the ability to communicate with others, kids can learn and be more engaged when it’s real. For example, my students were able to listen to Chris Hadfield present his take on space in a livestream. Many schools in Regina have an Elder that is able to tell their real life stories by Zoom which makes it so that the important sides of history are being heard.
  6. Accomodations for equity– We need to keep in mind the students that are unable to have a traditional education. As teachers, we know that every kid is different there are many adaptation to be made. Using technology can helps them achieve in school. Assistive technology like Google Read and Write, or even a teacher using a microphone are all pieces of technology that give students the best chance at maximizing their educational experience.
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Here is Why Technology in the Classroom Can Be Difficult

My opponents had many great points about technology in the classroom and I have definitely had to deal with some of these problems. With these points, I also want to choose the ones that I have had experience within the classroom.

  1. Distractions and disconnections– This is probably the biggest drawback to technology in my classroom. Even when I am monitoring them, it can be difficult to get them started and get them off when I ask them to. Games are also a thing and kids know how to change tabs so fast! There was even a professor that asked for their students to put all technology away during lectures. Many people are so stuck on their screen and disconnected from the world around them.
  2. Attention span- We are all used to having things at a click of a button ( Amazon Prime!) Kids that still need to practice this don’t understand how to pay attention when it’s important. ( Like when their teacher is talking). The more technology they use, the less practice they have at being patient.
  3. Using technology properly- The amount of times I have had to ask students to stop using Google Translate is astounding! Knowing how to use technology is a big part in making it beneficial in the classroom. In this article by MakeAnAppLike, they talk about plagiarism and false information which happens quite a bit. This doesn’t just go for students. Teachers also need to know how to use it correctly. And sometimes, it’s hard to get that education. For me, I’m grateful to have been brought up with technology and at this rate, we might just need to gain experience with technology as we go. Isn’t that how it works in a classroom anyway?
  4. Access to technology: My classroom only has 1 laptop per 2 students and it can be difficult to share. It takes a lot on my end to plan when I want them to work on something individually online.
  5. Phyisical and emotional wellbeing: WGU has a great article on many of these effects. Technology takes a big toll on our physical bodies. Kids (and adults) need to move more! Technology can also lead to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety ( which can be from cyberbullying, being unsafe, and negative body image). However, technology will always be in our lives and I do think moderation is important in everything we do! We simply need to teach our youth the correct ways to use technology.
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Final Thoughts

Even though there are many drawbacks to technology in the classroom, I still lean towards understanding how beneficial it is. I know there are still many reasons why technology can make a classroom more difficult, but there are still so many reasons why it should be used. Since this debate was about enhancing learning, every teacher needs to find a balance when using it in the classroom. Balance is key! Having rules set in place and knowing when to use it in a way that enhances student learning. Moderation is important in the classroom! And of course, we know that technology is and will always be in our life. We should be using its advantages and setting our students up for a great future with the skills and practice they need.

Do you think technology is worth the battle in your classroom?

8 thoughts on “Debate #1- Is Technology in the Classroom Worth the Battle?

  1. That is an excellent summary of the first debate Megan. I appreciate that you integrated links directly into your blog post so I could read through the articles you’ve referenced. It is definitely something I will be doing in future blog posts.

    I think that in terms of time savings technology can be a double edged sword. I have no nostalgia for the days when we use to send attendance duo tangs down to the office, and updating student marks in a ledger was about as pleasurable as clipping a cat’s nails. While technology is infinitely convenient, I also find it has made it easier for administration, parents, and students to pile on tasks and requests. Every time I open my email I am inundated with inquiries, and since it so easy to create a Google Doc, Excel spreadsheet, or an online survey I find that people aren’t as respectful of our time as they use to be. I think this goes hand in hand with the changing roles of teachers (how often do people ask, “why don’t they teach this in schools?” as a blanket statement) and the intensification of our workloads. I would not want to go backward, but I think at some point we are going to have to consider how urgent our requests of others really are.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Megan!

    Thank you so much for sharing your insights on the first debate topic, I think that your group did really great!

    I appreciate your comment about finding a balance in using technology, whether that is in the classroom or in our personal lives. Too much of anything is not healthy, so finding that moderation is crucial! I try to be mindful of this as well, especially in my personal life of when I am spending time with family or friends. I often will purposely put my phone away during these specific times so that those around me have my undivided attention. We all know that there is nothing worse than trying to visit with someone face-to-face and they are glued to their phone!

    It also sounds like you are doing some fantastic tech work with your students in the classroom. You have definitely discovered your pedagogy and purpose! Making their own podcasts, how cool! This can be so beneficial to our students when we use a variety of different teaching methods and approaches. Not only is it engaging for them, but you are also reaching students with all different learning styles and abilities.

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  3. I love your thorough analysis here! So true, balance is key. I know that often we struggle with balance as it is easy to simply rely on these tools. There are many ways that technology can create new opportunities that we have never had access to in the past, and when we hit that “redefinition” of education stage, that is really where students using technology is best. Thanks for a great post!

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  4. I appreciate the idea of balance. You have done great job highlighted the key points to the debate. I really like the article about the f key concepts to technology in the classroom.

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  5. I liked your thoughts Megan.

    I think that using technology opens up a world of possibilities for schools and instructors. It is important to to incorporate some forms of technology into the classroom and improve teaching and learning. The interest of students increases when teachers use technology in the classroom. In terms of teaching the same concepts in new ways, technology provides a variety of chances to make learning more entertaining and pleasurable.

    Students with Internet access have access to a wide range of materials to conduct research in a variety of methods, which can lead to increased engagement. Teachers can collaborate with other schools or other classrooms to use technology more effectively. I liked the points that you have highlighted in the difficulties of using technology.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved your last comment. You are right, there are a lot of drawbacks to technology, but I really would find teaching very difficult without it. I saw a funny meme the other day about someone trying to write with a really heavy dumbbell. The phrase was something like “how it feels to write again after typing for so long.” I felt that, especially the last few weeks. I am so used to technology, and now I have to use the other skills I have too. But could you imagine if we never learned those penmanship skills, how difficult it would be if our technology stopped working?

    Liked by 1 person

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