In a short amount of time, developing technologies have changed the landscape of the education system. Students of the 21st century have grown accustomed to technology and good teachers have figured out how to implement it into their lesson plans. As with everything else, there are some pros and cons to using technology in the classroom. Here are some examples of the good and the bad.
PRO: Resources are found with a touch of a button
Back in the day, doing your research could mean spending hours sifting through musty old encyclopedias for a quick blurb of information. Nowadays, kids seem to have it easy when it comes to research. A quick Google Search can send thousands of pages of information directly to your students. If you’re a librarian or Merriam Webster, this may sound like the downfall of the American education system, but in fact it can make working on a research paper seem like less of a chore for your students.
CON: Not all information is accurate
While information can be accessed in seconds thanks to the Internet, your students have to be careful on where they get information. For every primary resource that can be accessed online, there are literally thousands of sites that are not credible sources of information. Anything can be written on the web and students should be aware that finding the right source is as important as finding the right information.
PRO: Plenty of tools at your disposal
As an educator, if you use technology to your advantage, you can really open up your lesson plan. Tablets and smart phones have a wide variety of apps that can be used as educational tools that you can implement for your lesson plan and can make learning fun. 21st Century learners are tech savvy and teaching them on their literal and figurative playground is a way to meet them halfway.
CON: Those tools can also be distractions
Let’s face it: for every useful app you can find to help your students learn, there are more than enough time-wasting apps to really become a distraction for your students. Whether they are playing the new hottest games or are chatting with their friends on any number of social network platforms, getting kids to pay attention was hard enough for teachers that didn’t have to contend with Candy Crush.
PRO: Technology Opens Up Discussion Outside of the Classroom
The Internet can be a wonderful tool to communicate with your students outside of the classroom. Many teachers set up Facebook groups for their students where they can further the discussion outside of the classroom. This teaching practice allows the kids to ask questions in a setting other than the class and can help encourage lively discussion about the topic at hand between the students.
CON: Social media and the Internet can be dangerous
Opening up your classroom to the Internet can be a great way to lead discussion, but just like any other online activity, it opens your classroom up to the darker side of the Internet. Any information being shared has the potential to be hacked, so it’s important to monitor what is being shared among your students. If you’re not careful, outside forces such as spammers can infiltrate any discussion group you set up. Internally, it’s important to monitor the discussion between your students, as discussions can turn heated.
Every technology that we have ever invented has had its good qualities and its bad qualities. Keeping these dueling sides balanced can assure that it remains an effective teaching tool in this young century.
About the Author:
Cheryl, a teacher of many years, has seen first hand the positive and negative effects of technology in the classroom.