Introduction

Technology can serve as an asset as well as an obstacle within a classroom setting. On the one hand, it can help reinforce curriculum for students with different learning styles. Students and teachers alike can use electronic devices to access information or photos more quickly than with a textbook. On the other hand, devices can also serve as a distraction when constantly within arm’s reach. Understanding both sides of the debate is essential for teachers in order to maximize the quality of education for the next generation of students. Teachers should consider both sides of the argument and decide if or how they want to integrate electronic devices into their classroom culture.

Resources

Along with the increase of technology availability comes an abundance of online resources for teachers that outlines the different stances on its usage.

Lesson Plans

  1. Teenagers and Technology: This lesson plan comes from PBS NewsHour. Intended for teenagers in grades 7-12, this plan forces students to analyze the productivity of their own technology usage. The plan is designed to take about 50 minutes to complete. It includes an interactive, warm-up kahoot game, a clip of a documentary, a PBS video, room for discussion, and ideas for extension activities. This activity aims to open the eyes of students in regards to their own technology usage. By giving students this form of self-awareness, educators can establish a more rich sense of trust with their students when integrating technology into the classroom.
  2. Incorporating Technology: Classroom Activities: Here, Creative Educative provides high school lesson plans (as well as links to lesson plans for other grade levels) that incorporate some forms of technology. These lesson plans use videos and websites to provide a foundation for each lesson, which are then followed by a hands-on activity, such as poster-making, or an interview. The site also includes links to other useful sites, including a rubric maker and graphic organizer tool. Overall, the website provides for teachers a method of utilizing both technology and interactive activities to increase the quality of learning within a classroom.
  3. Technology Lesson Plans and Classroom Activities: “The Teacher’s Corner” provides links and summaries for various projects that classes can complete. It includes lists of educational applications that teachers can download, as well as summaries of five creative lesson plans, all involving computers or website visiting. Teachers can use this page to find quick lesson plans that require students to get used to using a computer. These lessons would be great for younger students who are not yet experienced with such technology.

Articles

  1. Pros and Cons: Concordia University-Portland analyzes the benefits and drawbacks of using digital devices in the classroom. It outlines the pros and cons in a clear, unbiased list format.Teachers can look to this article when deciding how to structure their classes and how stern they should be with their students’ technology usage. The article ultimately decides that teachers should utilize some form of technology in their classes, but set clear guidelines into place. Students must learn digital literacy and digital citizenship before they can really benefit from the internet. This article is important for both students and educators to read in order to connect their education with technology.
  2. Electronics In Class: This article from Yale’s Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning evaluates both sides of the debate of device usage and gives examples of how teachers can use technology within their classes. It illustrates its own stances on situations such as note-taking, research, and student collaboration, as fortified by various studies cited within the article. It recommends strategies for teachers to use, including syllabi policies and active learning exercises.
  3. Keeping Students on Task: This article by the Continental Press touches upon various strategies for preventing students from excessively using cellphones during class. The goal of these strategies is to make clear the teacher’s expectations about cell phone use and keep the students focused on classwork. The strategies include a “spotlight approach” that informs the students before each lesson whether or not they will need their phones in class.

Informational Sites

  1. Classroom Technology: This page from Edutopia, of George Lucas Educational Foundation, lists various videos and articles dedicated to understanding student learning style in regards to electronics within the classroom. Along with sources dedicated to understanding the students, it also includes online classroom resources should the teacher choose to integrate technology. Articles include: teaching internet safety to younger students, formative digital assessment tools, and online resources for primary source documents.
  2. Effective Technology Integration Models: This resource by PressBooks provides an introduction to effective technology integration for K-12 educators. It includes examples of programs that teachers can use to integrate more advanced tech into their classrooms. It also includes an introductory video, along with learning theories that define relevant terms such as behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, constructionism, and connectivism. The resource analyzes differing beliefs and values about technology integration, all of which, as it acknowledges, depend upon the teacher’s own preference.

Conclusion

Teachers should consider taking advantage of the benefits of technology but also beware its downfalls. Relying too heavily on technology can open up the class to glitches or distraction from lessons, while eliminating it completely could result in a less efficient learning environment. It is important that teachers educate themselves on the pros and cons of technology integration in order to find a healthy balance between the two.

Additional Resources

  1. UMiami: Help or Hindrance: This article from the University of Miami addresses the debate from the University perspective. Many of the professors tolerate some technology usage, just to check a text or for emergencies since “after all, they are adults.” However, many of the professors reserve the right to ban all electronic devices from their classrooms. Some lessons require use of technology and some students take notes using their laptops. Ultimately, the school found that it was up to the professors to decide whether or not to integrate devices into the classroom.
  2. Student Perspective: This post from the Holler, written by an eighth grade student, illustrates her own perspective on technology in the classroom. The article commends educational electronic devices for providing personalized education at her school. The article praises easy access to information and in turn encourages other school teachers to incorporate the internet and electronics into the learning or their students. This article provides interesting insight for adults on the student perspective of integrated technology.
  3. Negatives of Classroom Electronics: Here, The Guardian goes against the usage of technology, citing an MIT study and asserting that possession of personal electronics can cause students to perform worse on exams. The article in turn suggests that schools remove computers and iPads from classrooms entirely. Teachers should consider this article when choosing how to balance their electronic integration in their classes, as too much technological freedom can also serve as a pitfall.
  4. Benefits of Technology: This article from Walden University considers the top five benefits of using technology in the classroom. It praises the practice of using technology in the classroom, citing that it strengthens the student-teacher, as well as the student-student relationships. It also lists various useful and credible sources at the end of the article, including research on increased learning within technology-integrated classrooms.